Fraser Public Schools return to class

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 22, 2021

 Photo props and a DJ kick off the first day of school at Mark Twain Elementary, which started with an afternoon-only half day for all elementary students in Fraser on Sept. 7.

Photo props and a DJ kick off the first day of school at Mark Twain Elementary, which started with an afternoon-only half day for all elementary students in Fraser on Sept. 7.

Photo provided by Kristin Ledford

 The Fraser High School senior sunrise photo is a tradition for the school’s senior class. This year’s event took place on Sept. 10 on the football field and included a breakfast for the students as they began their final year in the district.

The Fraser High School senior sunrise photo is a tradition for the school’s senior class. This year’s event took place on Sept. 10 on the football field and included a breakfast for the students as they began their final year in the district.

Photo provided by Kristin Ledford

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FRASER — School is back in session, and the students and staff of Fraser Public Schools are adapting to the new normal.

Classes resumed Sept. 7, and FPS Superintendent Carrie Wozniak said it was exciting to have the kids back in the buildings.

“I think the first week has gone very well. It’s exciting to see all of our students back learning in person. The staff is super positive, and there’s been a lot of good energy. We spent a lot of time in the first week connecting with the kids and holding off on passing out textbooks and just reconnecting.”

“It’s been going great,” added Fraser High School Principal Ryan Sines. “It was great to see the kids back in the building. The hallways were filled with laughter. I think from our standpoint, it was important to start the year by building relationships with students and teaching some social and emotional learning. Only a quarter of our building has been in the building for a full year.”

The 2020-21 school year ended with many students in the district still learning from home. Now staff of the district’s eight schools are adapting to returning to traditional education for the entire student body.

“We were in person as of November of last year. The big difference last year was that only 65% of the students were back in the building, and the mask mandates were enforced,” Wozniak said. “It is a breath of fresh air to have the kids back and to have a regular routine back. We’re getting back to traditions like planning homecoming and fall sports and so forth. We had a back-to-school barbecue, and you could feel the energy people had to be back. … I hope and pray we can keep moving forward in this direction.”

Among the most significant matters upon returning to in-person learning was the issue of wearing masks. Unlike some other counties, there was no mask mandate in Macomb County, so the students of Fraser could decide whether or not to wear masks in class.

“It’s a personal choice with the masks,” remarked Sines. “Some of the students and staff are choosing to wear masks, and others are not. We are following the health department guidelines that, if you’re not vaccinated, that we encourage them to wear the masks. On buses, everyone does have to wear a mask, though.”

Wozniak said the issue has been addressed with very little drama so far and few complaints.

“I think everything has gone very smoothly (in regard to the mask issue),” she said. “Everyone seems pretty respectful of having that choice to wear a mask or not. We encourage mask wearing because we know that helps control the spread of the virus, but we know there’s a lot of feelings associated with the masks, too. … It’s been very quiet from parents about the mask issue. No one brought up the issue at our first meeting after being back in session.”

Sines said he was happy to see families being understanding as the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve.

“Thank you to the parents and students and community members for understanding this is a fluid situation,” he said. “For the last year and a half, we were dealing with virtual learning and partial classes being back and so forth. It’s been hard for students academically, socially and emotionally. So thank you for working with us and knowing we are doing the best we can to provide the best education possible and the most opportunities possible.”

FPS staff said they are optimistic about having everyone back and think it will be for the best for the students in the long run.

“I want to stay positive,” said Wozniak. “This is a time where we need to come together. There’s been a lot of sadness, anger and disappointment the last 18 months, and I think schools can be a lighthouse through that.”

“It’s rejuvenating for those of us in education to be back,” added Sines. “To get back in school and to see the students and the teachers in the classroom and to see the lunchroom full again puts a smile on my face.”

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