WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Thursday marked the first day of school for students in West Bloomfield, with the pandemic bringing about many changes and challenges the district says it's prepared for.
West Bloomfield schools K-8 are doing a hybrid of online and face-to-face learning, and Thursday was the big day after months of planning.
It's back to school for students at Doherty Elementary - masks on and spaced out as they will also be in the classroom.
Some kids were visibly excited. Some nervous. But all students, parents and staff were getting ready to experience a new format this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I was a bit nervous," said parent Taniya Chalmers. "But excited at the same time because I know they need school, and I know the teachers will be able to help them more than I can."
Taniya Chalmers' children are in first and seconder grade. They're among half the students at Doherty attending school in-person during the mornings.
Other students will attend the second half of the day. She says she's confident with the district's approach.
"A lot of communication. We had zoom meetings and emails and communicating with teachers and old teachers," Taniya said. "And just talking to different parents and just prepping and talking to the kids too about the safety protocols."
"Fortunately for us, we have a phenomenal staff in there," said Principal Scott Long.
Principal Long also credits parents on their patience during a challenging time. He says when students are at home or at childcare for the other half of the school day, they'll learn virtually.
"They have on-demand videos and activities that they can do that relate to what they learn that day or going to preview what they're going to learn in the days to come," said Principal Long.
Superintendent Dr. Gerald hill says the district is following the governor's "Return to school" plan.
"Because of that, we have that many required and strongly recommended protocols, social distancing, all of the PPE, and really the cleaning and everything," said Superintendent Dr. Gerald Hill. "So our staff has been working since june on a plan, before even the governor's guidelines came out."
For grades nine to 12, high school classes are all online.
The superintendent says it's way too complicated to follow the protocols with 1,800 students.