School begins Aug. 30 in Eastpointe Community Schools, pictured. Roseville Community Schools students returned Sept. 7.

School begins Aug. 30 in Eastpointe Community Schools, pictured. Roseville Community Schools students returned Sept. 7.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


New school year begins in person for Roseville, Eastpointe students

By: Maria Allard | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 7, 2021

 Crescentwood Elementary School students, in Eastpointe, enter the school building for their first day of school Aug. 30.

Crescentwood Elementary School students, in Eastpointe, enter the school building for their first day of school Aug. 30.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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Editor’s note: This article includes the latest information as of press time. Because the COVID-19 situation is constantly changing, school plans could be modified at any time.

 

ROSEVILLE/EASTPOINTE — School bells are ringing for local students as the 2021-22 school year gets underway.

Students in both Eastpointe Community Schools and Roseville Community Schools will attend classes each day full-time and in person with both districts adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

 

Eastpointe
Eastpointe Community Schools began with a half day Aug. 30. Eastpointe Superintendent Ryan McLeod predicts an enrollment of approximately 2,450 students, although the official count day across the state isn’t until Oct. 6.

“It’s hard to know. Last year ,we were about 2,450 students, and we expect about the same,” McLeod said.

While Eastpointe is offering full-time, face-to-face learning as it did last year, a virtual option is still available for interested families. All Eastpointe staff and students will be required to wear masks all day in an effort to decrease the spread of the virus. The decision was based on local COVID-19 data the district received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Macomb County Health Department. Other mitigation strategies have been implemented in an effort to keep students and staff safe.

“We are constantly reevaluating where we are at and what’s happening in the local community,” McLeod said.

For some students, the new year marks the first time they have been in a classroom since Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed all Michigan schools in March 2020 because of the virus. Since that time, there are students who have fallen behind academically or socially, which staff members plan to address this year.

“Some lost social skills and how to play and interact with other students. Some students will have to learn some basic school routines and how to play together at recess,” McLeod said.

Because of the pandemic, some districts have been having a difficult time filling staffing positions in various areas, including teachers, custodians and bus drivers.

“We still have some open positions,” McLeod said. “Math and special education are tough to find candidates.”

McLeod was pleased to announce the district is now providing technology devices for every student in the district at all grade levels, minus preschool. The younger students will primarily use iPads, while the secondary students will have laptops on which to complete homework assignments.

“We’re excited about that,” McLeod said. “Students can keep their assignments on (the devices) and interact with their teachers.”

Eastpointe Community Schools officials also were able to expand programs at the district’s Early Childhood Center. The center will now offer preschool for both 3- and 4-year-old students for families that reside in the district.

“We are super excited about this service that is so valuable to our community,” McLeod said.

For further information on the Eastpointe Community Schools Early Childhood Center, call (586) 533-3900.

 

Roseville
Roseville Community Schools began Sept. 7 with a half day. Most students are coming back to face-to-face, full-time classes, while a small percentage will attend virtually.

“We have less than 300 students on virtual out of 4,600 students,” Roseville Community Schools Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski said.

Educators also have plans to support students who might have fallen behind academically or socially because of the pandemic.

“We will be (offering) after-school programs based on benchmark testing to determine who needs some extra support,” Blaszkowski said. “There’s a lot of concern.”

Blaszkowski pointed out that many first graders, along with the incoming kindergarten students, will attend a school building for the first time.

“At the middle school, you have a lot more kids coming into the buildings now and there are 10th graders that haven’t been at the high school yet,” he said.

Blaszkowski and staff are looking forward to bringing the students back in person five days a week.

“We need them to be in front of us to get the best education they can get,” he said, adding that last year’s face-to-face students had half the number of failures compared to the virtual students. Because of that, the district’s summer school credit recovery enrollment increased by almost 400%.

On Aug. 30, Blaszkowski issued a letter to families to help answer frequently asked questions. According to the letter, wearing masks will be optional, although school officials “highly recommend unvaccinated individuals to wear masks.” In addition, masks must be worn on school buses at all times. In the letter, Blaszkowski stated that masks will be provided by the district.

Roseville officials have implemented several mitigation strategies to help keep the virus from spreading in school buildings. The district will continue to use protocols that include additional cleaning at touch points and disinfecting rooms where a positive case was determined.

School officials also will have a “care room” for ill students to go to until their parents can pick them up. Hand sanitizer will be available, and the district’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning filter changes and outside air flow have been improved. If a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed at a school, educators will send a notification to students and staff, and quarantine efforts will begin.

On Aug. 31, several principal changes were announced for the new school year. Dennis Borse was named principal at Eastland Middle School, and Monica Gabriel will become Roseville Middle School principal.

Katherine Reith was named assistant principal at Roseville High School, and Eric Gauthier will now serve as middle school assistant principal, splitting his time between Eastland Middle School and Roseville Middle School.

Gauthier has taken over for Andrea Burns, who stepped down from her role as principal to teach at Roseville High School. Brenda Baker, who had spent time split between the two middle schools, will now be the full-time assistant principal at Roseville Middle School.

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