Board to discuss return to school plans at special Aug. 6 study session

Chalkboard with Back to School written on it

On August 6 at 1 p.m., the Dearborn Board of Education will hold a special study session to review the recommendations of the District’s Reopen Committee.

The meeting will be held virtually and in-person at the Administrative Service Center, 18700 Audette, Dearborn. Due to capacity limits created by social distancing requirements, space in the Boardroom is extremely limited for public viewing. Therefore, the public will be able to view the meeting via  a live stream on the District’s website (www.dearbornschools.org), YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/dpscommdept), and on cable channel 19 (Comcast) and channel 15 (WOW).  Community members can submit comments via a Google Form between 8 a.m. and 1:10 p.m. that day.  The form can be found at https://bit.ly/DbnEdStudySession8-6-20.

“I want to thank the teachers, nurses, parents, students, administrators, community members, board trustees and all others who took time to be part of this important work and provide the administration with well thought out recommendations on how best to start the school year,” commented Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko.

Since their first meeting on May 28th the eighty member Dearborn Public Schools Reopen Committee has met six times (virtually) as a group and held several additional sub-committee meetings in their efforts to develop a comprehensive recommendation on how best to start the 2020-21 school year.  The Reopen Committee was co-chaired by Dearborn Federation of Teachers President Jane Mazza, Association of Dearborn Schools Administrators President David Higgins, and Executive Director of Staff and Student Services Maysam Alie-Bazzi.

The Board of Education will use the August 6th study session to discuss the three possible options recommended by the committee for a return to school. They will also have the opportunity to hear from various sub-committee chairs to gather further details on topics such as transportation, cleaning, scheduling, and other health, safety, and logistic concerns.  The three recommendations from the reopen committee are:

Recommended Option 1:

Begin the school year fully online for all students with face-to-face learning labs available for social-emotional and academic assistance. Details on the scheduling, staffing, and availability of Learning Labs will be determined if the Board approves this option. 

If the Board were to approve this option the District would only be making a commitment for online learning until October 1, 2020.  Depending on several factors, including but not limited to: local and state health conditions throughout the month of August and September; CDC guidelines; Wayne County Health Department recommendations; and the current orders from the State of Michigan; the District would re-evaluate  the plan to determine the feasibility of  changing the mode of instruction (full in-person, online, or a blended model that combines both). 

Recommended Option 2:

Begin the school year blended (partial online & partial in-person) for elementary students and 100% online for secondary students with learning labs available for social-emotional and academic assistance available to middle and high school students. 

Recommended Option 3:

The third recommendation is to begin the school year blended (partial online & partial in-person) for elementary and secondary students.  It is essential to note that given the current state requirements for schools to hold in-person instruction during Phase 4 of the State’s plan,  traditional transportation services may be an issue for this option.

The Board will officially vote on one of these three, or a modified, recommendation on August 10th, 2020 at the Henry Ford College Board of Education meeting.  As required by the Governor’s “Return to School Roadmap” (unveiled on June 30th), a Board of Education approved plan will be sent to Wayne County RESA and then to the Michigan Department of Education. The deadline for State approval is August 17, according to the Governor’s directives.  The Governor’s Roadmap provided a framework for the work done by the Dearborn Reopening Committee

“As educators, we believe that it is best for students to have in-person instruction in front of professional teachers! However, the health and safety of students, staff and the community must be a priority when implementing any plan moving forward,” Superintendent Maleyko added. 

Any school reopen plan is subject to change at any time pending the local COVID-19 crisis and any new Executive Orders issued by the Governor.  If the State of Michigan moves to Phase 1, 2, or 3, the District must implement full online instruction as ordered by the Governor. If the State is in Phases 4 through 6 the district could allow for in-person instruction but would still need to follow government requirements and recommendations.