On July 20, a parent focus group meeting was held with Mount Clemens Community Schools officials, explaining what different school reopening phases look like. The district’s first day of school is Sept. 8.

On July 20, a parent focus group meeting was held with Mount Clemens Community Schools officials, explaining what different school reopening phases look like. The district’s first day of school is Sept. 8.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Mount Clemens Schools respond to state roadmap

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 24, 2020

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MOUNT CLEMENS — At press time, the first day of the school year for students in Mount Clemens Community Schools is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Whether it be online or in-person, or a mix of the two, is a decision that will soon be made.

Mount Clemens Community Schools Superintendent Monique Beels said the roadmap has been very helpful as the district is planning its own return-to-learn plan.  

On June 30, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Schools Roadmap. It directs school districts to develop return-to-school plans and includes guidance on personal protective equipment, hygiene and cleaning protocols, athletics, and more.

Beels took over as superintendent July 1, replacing Teresa Davis. Beels retired as superintendent of Clawson Public Schools in June 2018.

“What’s required is important, and we’re paying attention to that,” Beels said. “It was a very well-thought-out and organized document.”

She added that it takes the ambiguity out of some decisions the district has to make.

“If something is required, then there’s no discussion and we have to make it work,” she said. “If it’s strongly recommended, there can be discussion, but we realized it’s strongly recommended and is important.”

Staff are scheduled to report back Sept. 1.

Safety protocols detailed in the roadmap include guidance on PPE use, good hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting, spacing in classrooms, screening for symptoms, athletics, and more.

The executive order requires school districts to adopt a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan laying out how it will protect students and educators across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan.

At the July 15 Mount Clemens Community Schools Board of Education meeting, Beels said four focus groups have been formed within the district, examining various protocols the district will need to roll out depending on which phase the state is in when school returns.

“I’m working with the MISD, and we’re going through the plan on what we’re going to do,” she said.

On July 20, a parent focus group meeting was held, explaining what the different phases look like.

“I want the parents to know that we care about what they have to say,” Beels said. “We got some ideas from parents that we hadn’t thought of yet.”  

The district will soon provide more updates regarding the reopening plan, which needs to be sent to the state by Aug. 15.

“I think parents are positive at being at the table and having their voices heard,” Beels said.

The state order also requires the wearing of face coverings, except during meals and unless face coverings cannot be medically tolerated, for all staff and all students in grades pre-kindergarten and up when on a school bus.

“The mask policy depends on what phase we’re in,” Beels said. “Students who are unable to remove a facemask themselves will not be required to wear one.”

Other mask conditions include all staff and all students in grades pre-kindergarten and up wearing a mask when in indoor hallways and common areas, as well as all students in grades 6 and up when in classrooms.

As a way to make wearing facemasks fun for students, Beels said the district is looking at having a contest for students to design masks.

“If a student refuses to wear a mask, we’ll determine what happens at that point,” she said.

Masks have been ordered for all students and staff through October, with the plan of masks being available through the end of the year.

“We’re not experts on the coronavirus,” Beels said. “We’re experts at kids and teaching, learning and forming relationships with the community. The Macomb County Health Department has been really helpful.”

Around 1,000 students are enrolled in the district, which includes Mount Clemens High School, Mount Clemens Middle School, Seminole Academy, and M.L. King Academy. 

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