Leaders at Richmond Community Schools are planning a regular school year for 2021-2022, although virtual learning will be available to families interested in the program this fall.
“Our position is that if it’s not mandatory, we’ll run a regular school year where masks are optional,” said Superintendent Brian Walmsley.
A recent phone interview led him to touch on a number of topics for the district, including COVID-19, school bond project updates and several summer programs.
Walmsley said last year during the pandemic that the district followed the instructions given to school districts by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, that everything came from the state and that the district must comply with these. decisions. If similar warrants emanate from the state, the district will follow them, he said.
“We want a normal school year here, but we’re not going to break the law,” Walmsley added.
The district will maintain some protocols related to COVID, such as encouraging students to wash their hands and encouraging staff to space children out if they can, but if it is a group activity or lunch. , things will be normal.
A virtual option for classes will be offered to families, but they will have to commit to a full semester and decide by September 16. Walmsley said some courses would not be offered virtually just because some programs are too difficult to produce online.
As for the expansion and renovation projects of all the buildings in the district, they will be completed in the coming weeks so that the schools are ready to welcome students again in September. Walmsley said the full project is not 100% complete as some items need to be completed and some deliveries completed, but these will be made after 3:30 p.m. on school days.
” It is really nice ; most classrooms are almost fully equipped with paint, carpet, lighting and fire alarms, ”Walmsley said. “I’m very happy, and now there is a really different look for all of these buildings. “
Upon entering elementary, middle or secondary school, visitors will be able to see huge changes from ceilings to walls and floors. In addition, behind the scenes, high energy efficiency heating systems, energy saving LED lighting and central air conditioning are also in place.
“It’s really remarkable; this connection has touched every aspect of every building, and I am so grateful to the community, ”said Walmsley.
Richmond students are expected to return to class on September 13, the Monday after Labor Day, while teachers will return to their classrooms on September 7.
In other summer programs, Walmsley said the Meet Up and Eat Up food program was popular, with the district food service distributing 14,000 meals. Meals were prepared and made available for pickup on Wednesday, with seven meal days, 14 in total, two lunches and two breakfasts, made available for each eligible family member. Free meals were offered to children 18 years of age and under or persons up to 26 years of age who are enrolled in an educational program for the mentally or physically disabled recognized by a state or local public education body.
The summer programs and camps, offered only online, have also been very successful, Walmsley said.
“The kids were really excited and yes the camps are better in person but what we were able to provide was great,” he said.
The district also entered into a three-year teaching contract, which is expected to be formally adopted by the school board at a meeting on August 9.
“I’m excited to put this process behind us and focus on student learning,” Walmsley said.
Barb Pert Templeton is a freelance journalist. She can be contacted at [email protected]