Marquette Area Public Schools discusses plan for Fall return to school

North Central UP
Marquette Area Public Schools

MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – The MAPS school board met July 27 to discuss their plan for the fall. Every school district in Michigan must submit a plan to the State by August 15. The school board will meet again August 12 to approve their plan.

According to Superintendent William Saunders, they will need to be prepared for whatever phase the community is in at the start of the school year. The U.P. is currently in phase 5, but MAPS will have plans set out for other phases in preparation for if things were to change.

“I’ve assembled a committee, we have about 28 folks I think on that committee to go through that safe school start road map,” said Saunders.

The “Michigan Safe Schools Roadmap” is provided from the State of Michigan as a guide for schools in reopening. It includes topics that address possible scenarios, recommended practices and general information about the virus.

Superintendent Saunders says they need to make sure that as they develop a face-to-face plan for the fall that they are minding the health and safety of their staff and students.

“Closely following, I think, is a sustainability approach,” said Saunders. “We don’t want to put families and students on a roller coaster of, we’re in school, we’re out of school, we’re in school.”

Saunders does note in the meeting that it is possible they will have a scenario where students are in a phase 5 plan and another in a different week. He says this is because the State government may change the phase causing the district to shift their instruction methods.

“We can go back and certainly tweak our plans as we go,” said Saunders. “Once we put our plan in place there’s nothing to say we can’t change our plan based on new data, new information that comes out tomorrow.”

The board discussed several of the purchases they anticipate needing to make for the fall. They will be buying things such as different types of masks, face shields, UV cleaning machines, signage, hand sanitizer and many other cleaning items.

“I’m figuring at least 200 hundred per classroom to start the school year, about 40,000 disposable masks, about 500 clear masks, they’re making clear masks now that our teachers would be able to wear especially for our students that have any type of hearing issues.”

Superintendent Saunders says the cost will be substantial for these items, but they did receive about $39,000 from the state for COVID related Items. The school board will have a special meeting on August 12 to approve the district plan before submitting it. You can find today’s meeting on youtube.

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