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Parent’s Playbook - Brandywine

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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Mich. (WNDU) - In tonight’s Parent’s Playbook, it’s back to school time for several Michigan kids. In fact, Monday is the first day back for Brandywine.

Tricia Sloma spoke with Superintendent Karen Weimer who says they plan to begin the new school year with a soft start.

Karen Weimer: What this is, is kind of like an ease in plan of getting us ready for the year with all the different protocols that are happening for in person learning and also for virtual learners so that they can meet the teacher and find out what instruction will be like in the virtual world for them. What it is is the first two days, next week we will have parents come in for an orientation in a controlled setting and meet the teachers, get Chromebooks if they need those. Find out what it would like to be with remote learning if they’re doing the in-person instruction, and then choose excuse me Wednesday and Thursday of next week, half of our students will come in on one day, those that aren’t in school for the instruction will be practicing the remote learning, and then it switches on Thursday. So then that way we’re prepared if we do have to go to remote learning sometime during the school year.

Tricia: And then you’re prepared for a nice long weekend and I think that’s a great strategy as well. Back to those Chrome Books are you one on one on technology?

Karen Weimer: Yes we are. We were fortunate to be one on one even last year but we didn’t have Chromebooks assigned to students that they took back and forth from school but obviously when we closed down we offered those Chromebooks to students and this year that’s right from the start, we’re going to assign them to students to have with them and take back and forth every day.

Tricia: And how much has your online program improved over the summer? I know your students and your teachers, your teachers especially, have been doing a lot of training for this.

Karen Weimer: It’s been offering training options, sending emails about these are different things and then of course when we return back to school, we’ve been having some professional development training and that will also be going on next week for the teachers are going to do their virtual learning. We’ve also decided that we’re going to use just one platform for when we do our remote learning because during the spring, we had different ones and it’s kind of confusing to the parents we’ve streamlined that. And then we’ve also purchased some hotspots for students that might not have access, and then we’re also adding on an online platform for elementary students that are going to do the virtual program.

Tricia: Let’s talk about the in-person instruction now. How are you managing your safety protocols? I know you’ve done a lot to keep your classrooms, very clean.

Karen Weimer: Yes. And along with that obviously we’ve increased our cleaning protocols. Hand sanitizers are available everywhere. We have a lot of classrooms that do have sinks, so of course we’ll be doing the soap because that’s the better option. The hand sanitizers at all of our entry doors. Students will be on masks on the bus and common areas in the classrooms. We’ve also been able to maximize our classroom space because of the virtual options so we are going to space out our students as much as possible.

Tricia: Karen you have been the superintendent there for a few years now, but you have been at Brandywine for over 30 years in your teaching career. The school is very special to you, and if you’re embarking in a year, unlike any other, aren’t you?

Karen Weimer: Yeah. Yes we are.

Tricia: What’s that like as you head into the school year.

Karen Weimer: Well, I’m very proud of our staff, they’ve had obviously lots of uncertainties, but everybody’s working together to make this possible and I’m not, you know, not going to lie, there’s been a lot of frustration over it as well. But I’m confident that we’re going to have a great start to the year and that everybody truly will work together with us and we’ll get through it and we’re going to do the best that we can, given the situation.

Tricia: Well, we thank you for your time this morning and we wish you the best and a safe and healthy back to school, as you get started on Aug. 31. Thank you.

Karen Weimer: Thank you.

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