(WXYZ) — Highview Elementary in the Crestwood School District is preparing to welcome back students in the fall, and making changes to public spaces and common areas in order to keep kids safe.
“As of now, we are preparing for face-to-face instruction," said district superintendent Youssef Mosallam.
Crestwood will also have an online learning option for parents who prefer not to send their students back for in-person learning. Mosallam said at this point, the district is expecting about half of its student to return in person, however that could still change as they are still in the process of surveying district parents.
For the kids who do return in-person this fall, they'll notice a lot of changes in place for their safety. Starting with the social highlight of the school day; lunchtime.
“Luckily our tables allow us to pull benches out as needed," said food service director Marty Herringshaw during a walk-through of the cafeteria.
Every other table will remain closed and using X markers kids will be asked to sit six feet apart, which is recommended under phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan, where most of the state remains.
Last fall, the cafeteria at Highview usually had around 150 kids at once during the lunch rush. This fall, that will be closer to 40.
Kids are welcome to have hot lunch, or bring their own.
“Food comes from the high school, it’s our central kitchen. And we finish it off here. So it comes hot. Hot food hot, cold food cold," Herringshaw said. She also said the district plans to offer more pre-packaged individual food items to avoid contact as much as possible.
Cresttwood's free meal program, which the district continued after in-person classes were suspended in the spring, will also be available this fall both in school and to families in a drive-thru capacity.
As for cleaning measures, the district's custodial staff has increased the frequency of cleaning for kids return.
“We’ll be adding a lot of sanitation stations. A large portion of plastic shields and face guards," said custodial supervisor Scott Jacobs.
And then of course there's masks, and the task of getting little ones like kindergartners to wear them during the day. Mosallam said teachers will be focused on explaining to the students why they need to wear their mask, as opposed to kids getting punished for not wearing one.
“We are going to specifically have in our instruction, instruction on why we wear a mask, hygiene. Everything that the CDC has been saying since the start of the pandemic, is going to be part of our instruction," he explained.
Crestwood welcomes back students August. 31.
Read more about Crestwood's learning plans and options here.
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