Mid-Michigan school districts finalize fall plans as federal COVID-19 guidelines change

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed their guidelines for back-to-school plans during the pandemic and are now showing more support for students to have in-person classes this year.

Over the summer many school districts said they would use CDC guidelines to inform their decisions on whether or not to bring students into the classroom this fall or keep things virtual. Those federal guidelines are not the only factors at play.

“If we’ve learned anything, it’s that this pandemic has created a continual cycle of change,” Cindy Anderson, Superintendent of the Eaton Regional Education Service Agency (RESA).

As school districts put the final touches on their fall opening plans, the CDC is shifting gears saying schools play a critical role for students and families and that keeping students home would cut off access to certain resources.

Here in mid-Michigan, district leaders are taking that into account but using other criteria to make their decisions. Lansing public school students will stay home this fall and students in St. Johns and Hillsdale can choose to go in person or stay home.

School districts in Eaton County are listening to members of the community.

“They’re continuing to monitor community sentiment and support,” Anderson says, “as well as staff safety issues and concerns with regard to that.”

Okemos Public Schools also sent out a survey to parents and families asking what option they’re most comfortable with.

“There’s much greater comfort coming back in phase 5 than there is phase 4,” Superintendent John Hood says, “but we also know that some are still not comfortable in phase 5.”

Both school districts say they hope to be as flexible as possible if health guidelines or other factors change during the school year.

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