Pennfield Back to School Plan Approved on a 4-3 Vote
Pennfield Schools will start up on Tuesday, August 25th, a day earlier than most area schools. Pennfield Superintendent Kevin Simmons was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins to detail the plan.
Simmons says the school board approved a plan on Monday by a 4-3 vote. “It was a process. There’s no plan that everybody’s going to be happy with.” He said safety is the number one, and the next thing is the quality of education that can be delivered.
Pennfield students in grades 6-12 will not be going to school, for at least the first nine weeks. Simmons says they’ll be collecting data and
Parents of K-5 students will have a choice between virtual at-home learning, and in-person learning at school. Simmons says they hope parents will choose the lower risk at-home virtual learning option, but he says they realize that some families have extenuating circumstances and some students just don’t do as well outside the classroom. K-5 families who choose in-person learning will have kids in school either Monday and Tuesday, or Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be a virtual at-home learning day for all K-5 students. Simmons says that will allow for smaller class sizes and they are trying to social distance at least 6 feet apart. But, he says, there will be times when students will be closer than that, just due to the social nature of young kids. “We’re also going to have our kids wearing masks, all day, except for when they are drinking or eating,” said Simmons. “The same goes for our teachers and staff who are in the building with the students.”
Parents and students are asked to go through a simple daily health screening at home before coming to school. Teachers will be going through training to help them monitor the students to spot any issues that may come up.
Simmons says the Pennfield district will not be using any third-party virtual learning services. “Our teachers have years of experience. We have some rock stars and they’ve already been using these technologies since long before the pandemic. With that being the case, our district is above average when it comes to the use of technology and interacting with students.”
Simmons says they’ve had to hire six new custodial staff members. They’ll have to spend upwards of $150,000 to keep the classrooms clean to CDS and state standards. Rooms have to be cleaned every 4 hours, and bathrooms after every use.
As for sports, the athletes are carefully practicing and conditioning and he says coaches are doing a good job of making sure practices are being done as safely as possible. Simmons says he and Athletic Director Brett Steele monitoring the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) to see what they do. He says so far, the MHSAA seems to be of a mindset to go ahead with fall sports.
Pennfield is having another board meeting on Monday, August 24th, and two more in September to discuss things as they develop.