Board approves starting blended learning for elementary when community conditions improve

Dearborn Public Schools > The First Bell > News > Board approves starting blended learning for elementary when community conditions improve← Monday (Oct. 26) study session to start at 5:30

The Dearborn Board of Education late Monday night authorized administrators to start a blended learning program for elementary students once community COVID conditions improved, but noted that may take several weeks.

The district can start bringing kindergarten through elementary students back two weeks after the Wayne County Health Department safety rating for the district improves to at least a D and the seven-day average positivity rate for Wayne County outside of Detroit is below 5 percent for at least two weeks.  The county’s safe school matrix is based on the infection rate for that community (number of cases per 100,000 people), if the infection rate is increasing or decreasing, and the county’s positivity rate (number of COVID tests that come back positive).

Currently Dearborn Schools, along with most Wayne County schools, has an E rating on the county’s matrix.  The district will work with Wayne County to try to get the relevant reports posted publicly and linked from the district’s web site.  Dearborn Schools already has charts from other sources showing the daily and average positivity rates.

Two weeks after community conditions are met, the district will restart with blended learning where half of kindergarten to second grade students will come in for four hours on Monday and Thursday and the other half of students on Tuesday and Friday.  Wednesday will be used for live online learning for all students.  The district was authorized to restart as early as Nov. 16, but trustees doubted community conditions would improve quickly enough to allow that to happen.  The seven day positivity rate continues to be more than 5 percent.

Two weeks after kindergarten through second grade students return, grades three through five would also be allowed to restart on the same blended schedule.  Preschool programs would follow after the rest of elementary restarted.

Classes would move back to online only if conditions decline in the district or if problems arise at a particular school and the health department recommends closing that building for a while.

Under the approved plan, middle and high school students would not return to classes face to face until at least the second semester starting in mid January.  Then, they would also probably restart with a similar blended schedule and a shorter school day.  Dearborn Schools would be able to restart learning labs for students once the average positivity rate falls below 5 percent again. 

For elementary students, schools would have siblings attend on the same day, dividing the school roughly by last name. Breakfast would be offered in the classroom, but students who wanted lunch would take a boxed meal home.  Plans are still being worked out for how free meal distributions will continue for other students.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks while they are in the buildings.

The board’s meeting, which lasted more than six hours, also addressed how desks and other touch points will be sanitized every four hours or when students change classes, and looked at how many people with COVID have been on school grounds. The presentation to the board also touched on numerous other safety details like how schools will develop entry and exit procedures to help students social distance and social distancing in the classrooms and hallways.

School officials also noted that parents who are uncomfortable with the plan have until Friday, Oct. 30, to sign up to switch their children to the Virtual Learning Program. For information on the Virtual Learning Program, please visit https://vlp.dearbornschools.org.  Individual questions can be addressed by calling (313) 827-3024. Any parent with a child already in the Virtual Learning Program does not need to re-enroll their student.  Approximately 2,500 Dearborn students are now signed up for the program which will teach children online for the entire year.  Dearborn Public Schools has more than 20,000 students.

Dearborn Schools opted to start by returning elementary students to face-to-face learning because those children have the most difficult time learning online and because those students are easier to keep socially distanced.  The young students will stay in their classrooms during their shortened school day.

“We are grateful for this concrete plan to start bringing students back to our schools because we know most students learn best in-person,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko. “We hope with this gradual approach to show our community schools can resume relatively safely, and we ask the community to do its part to reduce the spread of the virus by wearing masks, social distancing, regular hand washing, and taking other safety precautions.”

Having trouble with your Chromebook’s microphone? Try this tip from our Tech Coaches!

by Amy Gwizdz | Oct 22, 2020 | Transforming Learningboy shouting

With all of the Zooming going on around the district, we are aware of an issue with some Chromebook microphones. The good news is, updated Chromebooks now give you the ability to adjust your microphone volume.

But first, you have to make sure your Chromebook is up-to-date, which is always a good idea. To do this, click on the clock in the lower right corner of the Chromebook screen. Click the gear for settings:

gear button

Next, select About Chrome OS.

settings menu

Finally, click on the Check for updates button.

check for updates button

Once your Chromebook is updated, click on the clock again. Then, click on the arrow next to the volume button. This will open up your audio settings.

arrow for audio settings

From here, you can use the slider bar to increase or decrease the volume of your microphone.

slider bar for microphone

Dearborn Public Schools has moved the half day for elementary students originally scheduled for Nov. 6 up to Oct. 30.

Teachers will use the afternoon that day to get grades ready for report cards.  The first marking period ends on Oct. 30 for all grades this year. 

A Google calendar with our most up to date days is always available on the district website on the home page and on our calendar page.  

Clarification on email about signing up for VLP

Article from Friday’s First Bell:

Happy Friday, 

Before we start enjoying another great fall weekend in Michigan, we thought it would be best to provide everyone with a bit of clarification on a recent email and text message that was sent to parents who are not part of the Virtual Learning Program (VLP). (Okay, to be totally transparent, there were a few parents who are enrolled in the VLP who also received the email and text by mistake. Sorry for the confusion.  Please ignore the commitment form; there is no need to enroll again.) 

The message that was sent out the other day provided a link and asked parents to complete a form by October 30th if they did not want their child attending in-person instruction and would prefer to be a part of the Virtual Learning Program for the remainder of the school year. We received several phone calls from parents who expressed that it would be difficult for them to make a decision regarding in-person or totally virtual learning without knowing what plan would be in place for in-person instruction. That is a fair concern, and we are sorry the message was not clear.  

Sending out the form was a way to help us in determining if there were additional parents who now, after several weeks of on-line learning, wanted to maintain this form of instruction for their child once the district returned to some type of in-person learning.  Knowing the number of students who want to be a part of the VLP will provide valuable information for staffing, scheduling, and classroom numbers for students who will be taking part in face to face learning.  

In August, several hundred parents signed their children up for the Virtual Learning Program without knowing the exact details of how the district would restart the school year either fullly in-person, blended (both on-line and in person), or 100% remote.  They made this decision because they knew given two choices of totally at home or some type of in-school learning, they did not want their child in a school.  

Based on numerous communications that we have received since the start of school, we know that there are additional parents who, no matter what plan is brought forward for in-person instruction, do not want to send their children back to a school building.

We want to assure our parents that sending out this message was not done to make anyone feel pressured into making a decision. It is important to note, any parent who opts in to the Virtual Learning Program at this time would not move to the program until the District made the move to some form of in-person instruction. In short, completing the form now does not mean that your child will move into the VLP tomorrow.  

We all know that the ultimate goal is to safely return students and staff to the classroom.  At the same time, we all know that this is not going to be an easy process. We simply cannot turn a switch and have everyone show up at school. Dozens of people have been spending many hours working through all of the details that are part of any plan to bring students back.  There is no one solution that is going to please everyone, but there are solutions that will provide students with instruction in a safe learning environment. The plan that is ultimately decided upon by our Board of Education will most likely look different than other districts but, at the same time, will have many similarities to other districts when it comes to health and safety.  This is because each district has its own unique challenges, but all schools have the same goal to provide students with the best possible educational experience.  

The Board of Education has scheduled a public meeting for Monday, October 26th at 7 p.m at the Administrative Service Center, 18700, Audette. State legislation passed just days before the start of the school year requires the Board of Education to approve a plan for learning every thirty days. The October 26th meeting will be an opportunity for the Board to review a plan that will provide a safe start back to school.  The Board may choose to vote on a plan for the weeks ahead or they may decide that current health conditions in the state, county and city would prevent a safe start and therefore wait until November.  No matter what occurs on the 26th, any plan that is approved will need to address all areas including transportation, food service, cleaning, and all of the logistical concerns of operating a 21,000 student school district.  At the top of the list of any safe start back to school plan will be the safety of our staff and students.  

Have a wonderful weekend! 

District suspends in-school learning labs for now

Article from the First Bell:

The district Learning Lab Committee, school nurses, and administrators met Tuesday and decided that in-person learning labs will be inactive as of Wednesday, Oct. 21 for an indefinite time frame.  This comes after concerning news from the Wayne County Health Department. Virtual learning labs will continue, and teachers can voluntarily continue to offer in-school learning labs for those students who wish to take part. 

Wayne County Health Department reported the seven-day average positivity rate has climbed to 4.6 percent as of Tuesday, Oct. 20 and may be headed even higher. (The report excludes Detroit.) In addition, the COVID-19 infection rate within Dearborn is also increasing. Over the last week, the district has also seen an increase in the number of staff and students who were exposed to COVID-19 in the community, not in our schools.    

The decision to make in-school learning labs inactive (except for those who volunteer to come in) was made to maintain a safe school environment and to continue to keep our schools from becoming a source of COVID-19 spread. 

There have been no outbreaks in the Dearborn Public Schools since September 25.  In total since August 1, only three of 29 reported student and staff cases can be tied to spread within the schools.  All other cases involving students or staff on school grounds, the person apparently contracted the virus outside of the school environment.  In addition, a recent report on athletic participation from Dearborn High and Fordson shows  there were a total of 694 student athletes taking part in more than 2,690 hours of contact since August and only 14 cases of COVID-19, all but one coming from outside the school. 

For now, the district will continue with high school PSAT tests scheduled for next Tuesday (Oct. 27) and Thursday (Oct. 29).  Ninth through 11th graders voluntarily signed up to take those tests to evaluate their learning, get targeted assistance through Khan Academy, and as practice for eventually taking the SAT college entrance exam.

The Dearborn Public Schools has set up a special COVID-19 web-page. Please visit 

Click here for the Dearborn Schools COVID dashboard

Click here for the Wayne County infection and positivity rates

Click here for Wayne County COVID-19 weekly report for schools

New Music Teacher to Start Next Week!

Hello My name is Mrs. Bush and I am so excited and honored to be your new music teacher!  We are going to do so many fun things this year and, of course, learn all about music too.  I hope you all have had a great start to the new school year despite all of this year’s challenges.

Let me tell you a little bit about who I am. I have been a music teacher for 15 years and this is my first year teaching for Dearborn Public Schools. I am married with two children, my son is 15 and my daughter is 10. I enjoy spending time with my family, pets, crafting, reading, going up north and DIsney World. I am looking forward to meeting all of you through zoom and hopefully in person soon.  I look forward to starting our Musical journey together.