CBS Detroit – With the Coronavirus Pandemic, to say there has been uncertainty is an understatement. For parents with kids in school, everything has been up in the air as they have had to adapt to homeschooling and online classes and programs for their children.
In an article by Hometown life, Novi school superintendent Steve Matthews unveiled a 10-page document of how the staff, students, and parents will handle the various issues that may arise from COVID-19.
While Novi administrators wrote that ” Learning occurs best in a classroom” and that students “learn social and emotional skills at school”, Matthews acknowledged that many parents had concerns if it is worth it to hold classes with all the added policies and restrictions.
Some of the new policies and restrictions highlighted by Superintendant Matthews is:
- Staff and students must stay home if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19. This includes a temperature below 100.4 for 24 hours without any medication.
- Any student who displays any symptoms are to be isolated immediately and be picked up by a parent or guardian.
- If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, “will be directed to self-quarantine at home for 14-days. They also must show no signs of symptoms for 24 hours before their return.
- Siblings of any student who tests positive for COVID-19 must stay home and quarantine too.
- This policy also affects parents or others who live in the home and test positive for COVID-19. If they test positive, the students in that household must stay home under quarantine. When they are no longer showing any symptoms, they can return back to school after two weeks and showing no symptoms or illness.
- For those staff or students who test positive for COVID-19, District officials will report them to Oakland County Health Division. Who may follow up with contact tracing.
- For those students and staff who came in contact with anyone with COVID-19, “close contact” is defined as less than six feet face-to-face for a period of 15 minutes or longer”.
- In an effort to maintain privacy, the Novi School District will keep “the number of persons who will be informed that an unnamed staff member or student has tested positive will be kept to the minimum needed to comply with reporting requirements and to limit the potential for transmission to others.”
Among these procedures, the document also had additional requirements for students. In keeping with the governor’s roadmap to return to school as part of Phase 4, all students from K through fourth grade will be required to wear masks unless there is a medical reason with a doctor’s note.
Students in k through 6 will remain in their classrooms for the entire day. 7 through 12-grade students will have a traditional schedule with the attempt to keep them in the same groups as much as possible. Families with a mixture of virtual and in-person teachers will be asked to choose just one form of education in an effort to better schedule teachers and staff.
According to Hometown Life, Matthews wrote, “If the virus begins to increase significantly we will have to determine if we would or could allow switching before the end of a semester,” Matthews wrote. “We will also follow state guidance and requirements.”
However, there are some problems with these policies. Such as when it comes to social distancing, there are no classrooms in the Novi district that could accommodate a normal class load and have students at their desks more than six feet apart. At best 3-4 feet is all they can do presently, and Novi administrators are working on this problem.
Students will be assigned one desk and they will all face the same way. Student movement throughout the classroom will be limited. For art, music, and Phys. ed., teachers will come to the classroom or students may go outside or to the gym. Additionally, students will not share any supplies. There will be recess, but interaction from students from other classrooms will not be allowed with the possible exception of being outdoors.
For junior high and high school students in grades 7-12, how to schedule electives is being looked at in how to minimize hallway traffic. As well as limiting locker access to just a short period at the beginning of the day to drop off coats. Books and supplies will be kept in backpacks and transported to classes.
For students who take the bus, masks will be required. Plus sanitizing stations will be added. Students will be discouraged from congregating together at the end of the day in groups. A policy in how to achieve this is still being addressed.
Novi Virtual School Plans
For those parents and students who think the in-class policies are too much for them, Novi has also released guidelines for virtual school as well.
Virtual School day will be a school day with teachers available for only school hours.
Teachers must interact with students for a minimum of 15 minutes of live instructions each hour. Work will be assigned to students who will work in virtual groups. Teachers will conference with students individually as needed. However, teachers can take a full hour for instruction if needed. Virtual students will have the same time requirements as those in class, and attendance will be taken daily and possibly monitored every hour. Testing procedures are still under consideration.
The downside to virtual instruction is not all electives can be offered like in-person classes. Some fine arts or other classes may not be available. The document says virtual students will not interact with students taking traditional classes.
Presently, the Novi school district does not think a mixture of virtual and in-person classes is possible.
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