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The Learning Curve: Bridgman's back to school plan

The Learning Curve: Bridgman’s back to school plan

BRIDGMAN, Mich. -- ABC 57’s Learning Curve series continues in Bridgman, where district officials are preparing to head back to classrooms Aug. 31.

The district will have masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE in all buildings, but has also considered how to stop the spread of COVID-19 when walking the halls, at lunch, or using school supplies and how that differs across age groups.

“This is my 24th year in public education and by far it’s been the busiest summer,” said Shane Peters, superintendent of Bridgman Public Schools.

Peters has been working around the clock with faculty since students were sent home in March to figure out how to get them back in class come August.

“Bridgman will offer two options,” said Peters. “If you review the Michigan Safe Schools roadmap you’ll see that Phase 4 does allow us to offer in-person learning. For those parents who don’t feel that coming back to school on August 31, we have partnered with Lakeshore Public Schools to offer an online learning opportunity for those students.”

That online learning option would be a semester commitment to enroll at Lakeshore, but those students can return to Bridgman after.

For those in the classroom, school officials are taking safety measures in addition to smaller class sizes.

“We’ve taken out all of the unnecessary furniture, so when you walk into a classroom in August it will just be a student desk and a teacher desk. All of the excess stuff is removed from those classrooms to allow for as much social distancing as possible,” said Peters.

And while 7th through 12th graders can still have classes held in different rooms, Bridgman will cohort elementary students — even serving lunch in their set classroom. This also allows those young students to not have to wear masks under Gov. Whitmer’s executive order.

As for the older students —

“7th through 12th [graders] will still have a lunch period, however we will take the traditional cafeteria area and spread them out. We will use the large common space, so we’ll bring tables out and set them up and we’ll also use our media center,” said Peters.

Since those students will be required to wear masks, the district is also making sure everyone can get one.

“The district has made a commitment to provide two masks to each student that we will distribute in the morning and collect in the afternoon, and then we will wash and sanitize, then have them available the following school day,” said Peters.

As Aug. 31 moves closer, the district asks families for understanding that they’re simply following the guidance from Lansing.

“When we come back in August we’ll try to play school like we did on March 13th, but it will look different,” said Peters.

On top of all of this, district officials will also be taking time to instruct staff and students on proper hand washing.

“We’re also beginning an instruction process to teach staff how to properly wash their hands so in return they may teach their kids,” said Peters. “I would assume a lot of people probably don’t know the correct protocol and time period it really takes to wash ones hands to prevent not only COVID-19 but any other virus or bacteria that may be out there.”

Bridgman will release their full back to school plan Friday, July 31 at 4 p.m.

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