Burton area school districts resume classes Sept. 8

BURTON — Local school districts will all resume classes Sept. 8, but some students will be learning from home rather than returning to the classroom due to the continuing health threat from COVID-19.

In the Bendle Public Schools district, students and parents will have the option of both face-to-face instruction and an online learning for the 2020/2021 school year.

According to information on the district’s website, students may choose to attend in-classroom instruction five days a week during traditional hours with appropriate safety protocols in place (or) choose to enroll in the Bendle distance learning program.

Bendle students learning at home and those in the classroom will all be using the same Accelerate curriculum. This will allow for smoother transitions between in-school and at-home learning if it becomes necessary throughout the year, the website said.

Details: Visit www.bendleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=74295&pageId=32223210

The Atherton Board of Education voted Aug. 24 to delay the start of in-person schooling at Atherton Community Schools until Sept. 8. The district will offer both in-person and online options for learning.

Students attending the Alternative Virtual Academy will begin school on Sept. 14 as originally scheduled, according to a statement by Superintendent John Ploof in a letter to families.

“Over the summer, the district’s administrative team has worked on developing a safe way to bring our students back for face-to-face instruction in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Ploof in the newsletter. “Our teachers and staff miss their students and each other, and firmly believe that face-to-face instruction is the ideal method to teach children. We believe our face-to-face hybrid learning plan is a good plan. However, we cannot at this time ensure that we can keep students and staff safe and provide a consistent learning environment for our students.”

Ploof said the recent release of guidance from the Genesee County Health Department makes it clear that there would be many interruptions to education because of the quarantine of teachers and students and staffing issues would develop throughout the district.

As a district, Ploof said the administration extremely confident in its ability to deliver a “more complete and robust learning experience than was experienced in the emergency shutdown in the spring.”

With the passage of the recent bond election in August, every student will be provided with a new device in the coming weeks, he said. Until those are available, students will be issued a device if they do not already have one.

Staff will be working with special needs students and families to help determine what the best plan is for them moving forward.

View the superintendent’s letter to parents at www.athertonschools.org/files/user/5/file/Supt%20Letter%2008252020.pdf

Students in the Kearsley Community Schools district will return to class Sept. 8, but it will also offer 100 percent online learning for parents who are not comfortable sending their children back to school during the pandemic.

Information on the district’s website said: “Kearsley Community Schools is committed to getting our students back while also making every effort to provide as much social distancing as practicable to minimize safety concerns for students, parents, and staff. However, without the ability to double the number of classrooms and teachers in the district, we are not able to return to a “normal” school schedule.”

The district lays out two options on its website for parents and students: The first is 100 percent Online Distance Learning, with no in-person instruction for those families not comfortable with sending their students back into the school buildings. Each level will be a little different, but all online classrooms will be taught or guided by highly qualified Kearsley Community School teachers.

The second option is: A Face-to-Face/Remote Learning Hybrid. This allows the option of bringing students back with increased social distancing through the use of Face-to-Face and Remote learning.

Details: Visit www.kearsleyschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_368656/File/Walworth/Kearsley%20Return%20to%20School.pdf

Bentley Community School will also resume school Sept. 8, but it will be completely online with students all receiving devices this week, so they are prepared.

“Each school’s administration and staff are working to communicate with each family regarding your preferred learning option,” said Superintendent Kristy Spann in a letter to parents Aug. 18. “The hope and expectation is that we will be offering a choice to return to a hybrid learning format and when that happens, our students need to be scheduled correctly from the beginning so that we can make that shift smoothly.”

Bentley is going to evaluate its online approach on Sept. 18 and will decide then if to resume with remote learning beginning Sept. 21 or go back to the original plan from earlier this summer of a hybrid approach combining in-person and online classes.

Details: Visit www.bentleyschools.org/. — G.G.