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Bloomfield Schools return to classrooms in April

By Lisa Brody


Bloomfield Hills Schools Superintendent Pat Watson announced that the district's board of education approved a recommendation for modified five-day in-person learning for students in grades K-8 beginning April 5, and high school students attending five days from 7:25 a.m. to 12:30, with virtual and distance learning remaining an option for families who prefer.


“Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings. This knowledge, paired with dozens of other considerations, have led to the recommendation to modify the school day structure. In order to prioritize more in-person instruction, a compromising balance needs to be made to allow more people in the school at the same time. The elementary and middle schools in our district are limited on space, so while the current hybrid model allows for six feet of distance between students, consolidating the AM and PM cohorts for a unified school day may result in as close as three feet of distance,” Watson wrote to parents.


He explained that the schedule at the four elementary schools, Conant, Eastover, Lone Pine and Way, students will attend school Monday through Friday, from 9:05 a.m. until 2:20 p.m., where the school day will focus on core content. Students will eat lunch at school and participate in recess. Art, music, physical education, media and Spanish will take place virtually, on a student's own time, before or after school each day, although specialist teachers will facilitate a 15 to 20 minute live instruction during the school day in order to maintain teacher/student connections.


The Latchkey program will be available for before or after school care daily, beginning in March, with limited enrollment due to space.


Middle school students at East Hills, Bloomfield Hills and West Hills middle schools, as well as elementary school students at those schools, will attend school Monday through Friday from 8:15 until 1:30 p.m. with in-person education focused on core content. Students will eat lunch at school and participate in recess, and meet virtually during the school with specialist teachers, and complete course work for elective classes on their own time before or after school each day.


The Kidz Zone program will be available for before or after school care daily with enrollment limited due to space, beginning in March.


Watson said high school students will continue attending two days a week until April 5, when students will attend four blocks per day on an odd/even schedule.


“If returning to a full class size is not in alignment with the needs of your family, students in grades kindergarten through 5 can select a transfer to Bloomfield Virtual,” Watson said. “Students need a home learning coach to support their academics, time management, and social-emotional wellness. Learning expectations for students in Bloomfield Virtual mirror those of in-person teaching and learning.”


Similarly, families can continue or choose distance learning for students in grades 6-8, for families who do not want to return to in-person teaching and learning. Watson said students will be placed in full distance learning classes, where a student's teachers create synchronous and asynchronous learning that promotes a student's learning experience through interdisciplinary connections and collaboration.

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