DEARBORN/DEARBORN HEIGHTS — With Governor Whitmer recently encouraging schools to reopen by March 1, local school leaders are revamping their plans to present to school boards.
Dearborn Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko said that he is hoping there will be a study session next week to revisit the original timeline from when the board had originally approved it.
“The Board of Education makes the final decision,” he said. “We have a retreat every year and this year it will be held virtually as a special meeting on Jan. 23 at 10 a.m., which will include training of the board as well as the return to school plan.”
With teachers being allowed to receive COVID-19 vaccines now, Maleyko said he’s not the only one in the district with plans to get it.
“We have about 75 percent of staff that are willing to take the vaccine,” he said. “While there are no plans of making it a requirement, right now our main focus is to just get the vaccine. With demand being so high, we don’t even know when we will be scheduled to get it. I want to take it; I want to get back to school, but we have to wait until the vaccines are available.”
Maleyko said the announcement from Whitmer is very encouraging.
“We did two open enrollments just in case for parents that want to continue with 100 percent virtual learning programs,” he said. “There are no decisions on next year, but prior to the pandemic we had been looking at potential learning from home type of options. Until we agree on a return plan, we are still online for all aspects, including learning labs.”
While Maleyko said that he is ready to return students to school, he wants to get through this.
“We are ready,” he said. “There’s different opinions and needs for all families, but we all want to get through this. Our administration is working very hard to get students back to class.”
In Dearborn Heights, the D7 School District has had a hybrid option for all students all year, but the Crestwood School District has not allowed students back at all.
Crestwood Superintendent Youssef Mosallam said the encouragement of a March 1 start date fits right into their plan.
“We originally had a plan to return to school in March,” he said. “We are finishing final details to bring students back safely. We are not just focused on safety from the virus; we want to ensure our students return safely socially and emotionally as well, so that staff, students and parents don’t feel overwhelmed.”
Part of Crestwood’s plan is to not immediately bring all students back full time, because they don’t have the space to do so.
“We have to still maintain six feet social distancing,” Mosallam said. “We don’t have the room to practice that if we bring all students back because we have so many students and enrollments are happening every single day. So we would return half students on a rotating schedule, some students come on certain days, the remaining come the opposite days.”
Mosallam said that the Crestwood School District is also eager for the vaccine.
“We have over 260 staff members that have registered to get the vaccine,” he said. “I myself am also registered to get the vaccine. Hopefully this will all be a memory that we learned something from very soon.”
Mosallam plans to present the potential plan to the board very shortly in a study session and present an approved proposal in February.
“We will be contacting parents directly once they have a copy of the plan in their hands, so they know what they are looking at,” he said. “We will contact them to confirm if they want to move to hybrid learning or not. We will not go backwards. We are going to continue to expand on the use of this technology.”