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St. Johns Public Schools pushes back in-person start date until Sept. 14

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 6:48 AM EDT
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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) -St. Johns Public Schools has announced it anticipates having to suspend its in-person start date until Monday, Sept. 14 because of a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Clinton County.

Superintendent Mark Palmer says the decision was made because the county hit the positive test rate over time threshold the district established earlier this month. The widely used metric is 5% or higher.

Palmer says they will seek more information from the local health department about the spike and whether it was an isolated outbreak.

“Until we have more information, other information comes to light we could change our course, but for this week we will not be having face to face instruction,” said Palmer.

Some students who opted in to in-person learning were set to start on Tuesday.

“This week was scheduled to be a soft start where we had half the students showing up for two days and then the other half showing up for the next two days,” said Palmer.

Now students are expected to return Monday, September 14.

The district says they plan to start some introductory online instruction for elementary students and regular courses for the remaining students on Thursday, September 10.

Stephanie Hirsch is a mom of three students in the district. She says they’re ready for anything.

“We all juggle our time with two adults working from home and three kids online. It’s a pain but we can do it. It’s easier than the guilt of getting an at-risk family member sick,” said Hirsch. “I think the school is in a really tough position. They’re being asked to offer all of these choices and all of these solutions that just aren’t practical. You’re never going to come up with a solution for every family that works with no hiccups.”

Parent of two students, Amber Jarvis is also staying positive.

“I think that the school itself is just trying to do the best that they can. This is all new to every single one of us so it’s a lot of uncertainty. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen week by week,” said Jarvis.

However, Jarvis says she understands some parent’s frustrations.

“I think where a lot of people’s frustrations come from is I think the uncertainty. Just being uncertain on everything and the childcare situation. Because we have to work and there’s a lot of us who don’t have internet access at home who have to have their kids go back to school and that’s where a lot of the frustration comes from,” said Jarvis.”

Still, Jarvis says she doesn’t blame the school.

The announcement, which came via Facebook, said that the positive test rate in Clinton County is 5.2%.

Elementary school staff will still work to prepare Chromebooks that families can pick up on Wednesday, Sept. 9 between the hours of 12 p.m and 7 p.m.

Middle and high school students will need to contact the school offices to arrange a pick-up.

Teachers will still plan to provide beginning instructions virtually on Sept. 10.

Parents will still be able to pick-up free breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and Wednesday, Sept. 9 between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Posted by St. Johns Public Schools on Sunday, September 6, 2020

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