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Mt. Pleasant parents concerned about school district’s return to school plan

Last week, a school board meeting for Mt. Pleasant Public Schools lasted for more than four hours as parents and teachers weighed in on the school district’s return to school plans.
Sign in front of the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Administration Building.
Sign in front of the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Administration Building.(Colton Cichoracki WJRT)
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 2:36 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - Last week, a school board meeting for Mt. Pleasant Public Schools lasted for more than four hours as parents and teachers weighed in on the school district’s return to school plans.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools sent letters to parents in July that detailed the district’s plans for returning to class. In it, school officials laid out two alternatives for this school year, a face-to-face option or an online option.

In the face-to-face option, students would meet in person five days a week. There would be added health and safety practices so that students and teachers can stay safe. In the online option, students will participate in an online learning program at home using Google Classroom.

More details about the school district’s plans can be found here.

Parents that live in the school district expressed concerns about returning to school in last week’s school board meeting. Some parents have also expressed the want of getting more information about how the plans will work.

Jessica Jernigan, whose 14-year-old will be attending Mt. Pleasant High School this year, said that she doesn’t know anyone who wants to send their kids back to school.

“I don’t know anybody who’s comfortable sending their kids back into the classroom right now,” she said.

After listening to last week’s meeting and reading through the plan, Jernigan said she still has questions about what will happen if face-to-face learning happens.

“My biggest concern right now is, you know, we’re going back to school in some fashion and if students are going back into the building, teachers are going back into the building, what happens when someone gets COVID-19? Because I feel like that is an inevitability,” she said.

Jernigan said that recent outbreaks in the state make her concerned that an outbreak could happen in Mt. Pleasant, too. And she wants to see what happens when Central Michigan University students return to campus.

“So, I feel like I don’t feel comfortable with opening schools right now,” she said. “I feel like everybody should be online for the first few weeks.”

Jernigan said that at the last school board meeting, many parents and teachers discussed the difficulties about returning to school.

She said she understands that an all virtual plan could be difficult for some families.

Another Mt. Pleasant parent, Michael Hyde, shared similar thoughts.

Hyde said that he wished to get more information about how exactly a virtual or face-to-face plan would work.

“The letter I received seems like it was a rush job and not well conceived,” he said. “And didn’t convey enough information for people to make really informed decisions. So if they could come out with a better descriptions with everything that’s going to happen, maybe. I mean, I’m open but at this point, I don’t really have any confidence in that.”

Hyde said that he wants an all virtual plan but isn’t sure that the school district’s plan is right for his 9-year-old son, Kayden.

He also expressed wanting to know more about how social distancing and cleaning procedures will work and how a single teacher could be responsible for all of that.

Hyde said that if he doesn’t hear more about the school district’s plans soon, he will have his son attend a different virtual program this school year.

The MPPS school board is planning to meet on Monday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss these plans further via Zoom. The district said that the capacity for the meeting has been expanded so that more parents and teachers can attend.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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