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KISD hosts virtual meeting with community leaders a first step for reopening area schools

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The Kent Intermediate Superintendents Association hosted a virtual  meeting with local education, health and business leaders. It was the first step engaging the community discussing recommendations for reopening schools this fall.

“Reopening our economy cannot happen in its entirety until schools are also reopen”

That’s Kevin Polston, Superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools and Future Committee Chair of the Kent Intermediate Superintendent Association. He says the business community is sharing safety practices that can be used for creating safe learning environments.

“As we prepare for a fall return, the committee recommends districts pilot procedures for screenings, sanitization, social distancing and handwashing during summer programming.”

Those procedures are part of a framework for decision-making broken down into four categories; COVID-19 prevention response, student-centered innovation, creating multiple re-entry plans and engaging community stakeholders.

“Instructionally, we are also planning for multiple scenarios depending on what circumstances we face.”

Dr. Heidi Kattula is Superintendent of East Grand Rapids Public Schools.

“And most importantly, preparing to support our students mental and behavioral health. These are critical components of our back-to-school guides.”

Dr. Adam London, Director of the Kent County Health Department says the challenge is preventing the spread of COVID-19 from students and staff to families and extended community.

“It’s likely that kids won’t be able to be 60 kids on a bus and that we won’t have 30 kids at the same time in a classroom.”

Dallas Lenear, Chair of the Black Impact Collaborative explains all parents, students and staff will receive a survey asking what learning models work, what can be improved and how can districts reopen safely?

“The school re-entry survey is designed to gather data along racial and ethnic, as well as socio-economic lines, so that we can analyze the traumatic impact of this pandemic and how it manifests in different ways throughout the community.”

Polston says a comprehensive safe return to school will require more resources.

I’m Patrick Center.