Davison Schools Push Start of School Year to Tuesday, Sept. 8th
The announcement was made this morning by superintendent Kevin Brown.
In the "year of who knows," another school district has had to alter their opening plans because of COVID-19.
Davison schools were scheduled to start next Monday, August 17th with a mix of online learning and face-to-face instruction. However, in a message posted to the district's Facebook page, Superintendent Brown has said that they're now going to push back the first day of school til Tuesday, September 8th.
Dear DCS Parents and Guardians:
Late Friday afternoon we learned that Governor Whitmer extended her order declaring a state of emergency through Sept. 4 and signed executive order 2020-166. This executive order requires people with COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea or lack of taste or smell to self-quarantine for 14 days or until they get a COVID-19 negative test. The executive order not only requires people with COVID-like symptoms to self-quarantine but also requires anyone who has been within six feet of someone with COVID-like symptoms for 15 minutes or longer to self-quarantine as well. This order further complicates opening school and adds to the many challenges we are already facing.
We have had more than 1,100 students (approximately 20 percent of our student population) register for online learning. We have reassigned 21 of our K-6 teachers to teach online and we are in the process of hiring additional staff in an effort to reduce class sizes and maintain as much social distancing within our buildings for our face-to-face students as possible.
The District has also used its Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funds to purchase 2,500 additional chromebooks in order to have a device available for every student and move to a one-to-one environment. We will not have those new devices available until late September or early October so our Technology Department staff is working diligently to prepare to redistribute our existing devices to our secondary students, all of whom will be taking online classes, our 100% online students and still provide devices for our elementary classrooms. This has proven to be a monumental task as many of these devices are in need of software upgrades and having them ready by August 17 may not be feasible.
We have also had several of our support staff (bus drivers, monitors, paraprofessionals, etc.) resign or retire recently and while we are in the process of filling those vacant positions, I cannot say with confidence that we will have all the staff we need to ensure a successful start to the school year on August 17.
In addition, our building administrators continue to work on scheduling students and teacher assignments. This is an enormous task, especially at our secondary buildings. At Davison High School, for example, where we usually spend about two months scheduling, the administrators have to reschedule approximately 1,700 students from their previous six hour in person schedule to a new four hour face to face and two hour on line schedule. We appreciate your patience and understanding as they continue to work to complete this process.
Despite our best efforts and intentions to welcome students and staff back to school on August 17, I don’t see how we can do that right now. I firmly believe it is vitally important that we get our students back to school for face-to-face instruction and, based on all of our survey results, we know the majority (76% district wide) of our parents feel the same way. However, this new executive order compounded with the challenges described above causes concern that we may not be ready to open successfully.
For these reasons, we have made the very difficult decision to push back the start of our 2020/21 school year until after Labor Day. Our intention is for all students to begin school on Tuesday, September 8, for face-to-face and/or online learning.
I realize the move to a post Labor Day start may be a huge inconvenience to many but it is imperative that we are ready to open school safely and successfully.
Please watch for more information to come soon from your student’s school building regarding any changes this might cause for building tours that were scheduled for this week. Also, we kindly ask that parents make their decision and complete their student’s online registration by noon Friday, August 14, so we can conclude the scheduling process.
As always, your patience, kindness and support truly mean the world to us and is very much appreciated at this challenging time.