By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – Hamtramck Public Schools is beginning the slow process of bringing students back for in-person learning. However with numbers that are still putting students at high-risk, the process will be slow, giving struggling students the opportunity to come in first.
Students and parents are desperate to go back to school, saying they need the opportunity to go to work or that the students are struggling with the endless hours of screen time. One student in the public comment period said they missed the engagement with their teacher.
The plans, as proposed by Vickie Smith and Chris Vraniak, principals of Early Childhood Elementary and Hamtramck High School, will be individualized for each age group. The goal of each is to ensure that students can still get their education while minimizing any and all contact with each other.
This is complicated, with a retrofitted HVAC System to cycle outside air through buildings as fast as possible, and new ways of going through each day.
The plan will be carried out through phases. Phase One, which is set to begin on Mar. 2, involves a combination of in-person learning and virtual learning for struggling students. At-risk students, as determined by the teachers, will be coming into school two days each week for in-person instruction, called learning labs. Students will be instructed in small groups and will be expected to wear masks.
Cleaning will be done each day before at-risk and struggling students are brought in for in-person learning in the afternoons – from 12:15 to 3:00. The in-person learning for struggling students will only happen on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
As the school district enters each new phase, the group of students brought in for in-person learning will slowly expand to more students to come in. These students will be brought in based on attendance, performance and engagement with the online curriculum.
Higher up in the middle schools and high schools, the students will get assistance more than instruction. Rather than teachers coming into the building, the students will get assistance, and encouragement from staff members who are trained to assist at-risk students.
“The biggest difference between our plan and the elementary plan is that they would still be attending all of their classes on their computer, they’re not transitioning to see each one of their teachers. They’re still dialing in every day, they just have different adults in the room.”
Hamtramck’s Spread Rate has remained the same over the past month, with an infection rate considered just below the highest risk of infection. Wayne County has experienced a lowered rate of infection that has continued to ease since December of last year, mainly in Detroit.
In a vote to reconfirm this plan, the Board vote was unanimous.
“I am comfortable with moving forward with this plan for the next 30 days, because we’re not gambling with people’s lives. We’re just modifying it for the most necessary at-promise students. And we’d love to see them succeed.”
The plan isn’t necessarily finalized just yet. As it was presented in front of the Hamtramck Board of Education, the plan can still be modified as new information about the pandemic comes.