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Macomb students to return to school Aug. 5, distance learning to be offered

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
School Masks

Like various other districts, Macomb Public Schools is scheduled to begin its fall semester in August and will offer students the opportunity to continue distance learning and in-person instruction.

According to Superintendent Matt Riggs, students will return to school Aug.5 and while distance learning will be offered to all, it will look different for each grade.

“The district plan for distance learning will look different for PK-6 and 7-12 (grades),” Riggs said. “The blended model for 7-12 (grades) will consist of an online platform with projects in core subject areas. Students will have ample opportunity to work on their virtual assignments at school.”

Riggs said students pre-K through sixth grade will have online learning as well but will also have in-person hands-on activities to do which will be sent home with students.

“Teachers will use each Friday to prepare for the following week's virtual instruction.  Elementary will be assessed on whether or not mastery of content and preparedness for the next grade level,” Riggs said.

Over the summer, Riggs said educators went through various training sessions to gain the necessary knowledge and tools to learn how to teach students both in person and online.

“We have also ordered devices and are in the process of upgrading our technology infrastructure to make sure connectivity and access is not an issue on campus,” Riggs said.

In addition to distance learning, Riggs said the district has developed policies and procedures to keep staff and students safe during in-person instruction.

“We are keeping students and staff in one room and delivering meals to the classrooms to decrease the opportunities for large group gatherings,” Riggs said. “Teachers will be spacing students in their classrooms to the best of their ability.”

The administrator said one of the biggest challenges the district will face is physical distancing as buildings on campus have limited space.

“We will be providing sanitizer and ‘quick cleaning’ products for teachers and students to use in their classrooms. We will be doing a more thorough cleaning daily,” Riggs said.

Along with physical distancing and keeping things sanitized, Riggs said students and staff in fourth grade and above will be required to wear masks. Students in pre-K through third grade will be strongly encouraged to wear masks and no student will be required to wear masks during recess.

The administrator said he’s hoping by returning to school the community will regain some sort of normalcy.

“We recognize this will be an incredibly challenging year for all of us.  However, we want to get back to providing services for our students and families and building on the momentum of the last few years,” Riggs said. “I hope that at the end of all of this we will look back as a school community with pride on how we met and overcame this obstacle.”

Riggs said he’s very proud of his staff for their hard work at helping students and parents through this difficult time.

We are feeling the challenges as well.  I could not be more proud how the staff has accepted this challenge.  It truly feels like we are all in this together,” Riggs said.

Riggs would like to thank Caraline Beauchamp, Steve Martin, Rick Riggs and DonNell Riggs who have put in countless hours to the district’s distance learning plan and in-person instruction plan.

In addition, Riggs said he would also like to thank Marty Holcomb, Marie Butler, MaeLee Hancock, Donald Akens, Reba Holcomb, Tami Perez and Teri Fugate who’ve kept the district’s meal plan going during both the shutdown and the summer.