GLADWIN COUNTY – Both Gladwin and Beaverton schools returned to school last week and each seemed to do so in a very different, yet successful way. 

The Beaverton Schools website lists a video of how the students will go about their daily education under all of the new guidelines. According to the Beaverton Jr./Sr. High School video with principal, Mike Bassage, the parents and the students were made aware to the many changes before the return to school.

Each parent or guardian of a student received a letter in the mail explaining that they are responsible for making sure their student is healthy and okay to attend school. If the student has a temperature of 100.4 or higher or is showing any symptoms of sickness, the parents/guardians are asked to keep them home. The parents/guardians are then told to sign the letter and send it with their student on the first day back. 

The first day of school for many students began on bus the morning of Monday, August 31. Beaverton students are required to have their masks on while on the bus, and hand sanitizer is also provided at the front of each bus for the students. The seating on the buses are assigned by household so that everyone together in a seat will be from the same home and everyone else is socially distanced from one another. 

Once the students step off the bus onto the school property, they are able to remove their masks while outside. The students are then asked to keep six feet apart from one another as they enter the school at 7:30 a.m. 

Inside, students are required to have their masks on. They are allowed to get a drink, use the restroom, or visit their locker. Once they have gathered their supplies from their lockers, the students are required to go straight to their first classroom without any loitering in the hallways. Breakfast is served in the first class of the morning to the students at their desks. Classrooms are continuously cleaned throughout each day to maintain safety for the students and staff. 

Each class period will feature a “mask break” for the students when possible. This allows for the students to step outside and remove their masks for fresh air. Teachers are responsible for determining what occurs during these breaks and will sometimes assign topics to converse about or brainstorm with other students. Some classes are held entirely outdoors (weather permitting) and the students are asked to dress to accommodate for that possibility. 

Once a class is finished, students are required to clean up their own space by wiping down their desks and chairs. When released from classrooms, each room released will be staggered from one another to avoid grouping. Since the students have retrieved their supplies for the day in the morning, they are transitioned between classrooms without locker stops. They are encouraged to greet each other with elbow bumps, foot taps, and other acceptable methods. 

For lunch, the students line up (six feet from one another) and choose from a selection of what they want to eat. They are then tallied before sitting down at tables required to not exceed half capacity. Students are also able to enjoy their lunch outdoors at the picnic tables as long as the weather holds up. Once seated, students are allowed to remove their masks until they are done eating or once they leave the table. 

Beaverton Jr./Sr. High School Principal, Mike Bassage reminds everyone to follow the guidelines even though they are not “fun.”

“We do have to follow these procedures,” Bassage said. “For those students who are deliberately not following them, we will have consequences for you. Lets all work together, lets do the best we can and lets make sure we make this a great place to learn.” 

Both Beaverton and Gladwin schools are doing their part to maintain safety and reduce risk for their students. As of Monday, September 7, MLive reported that 11 COVID-19 outbreaks have been linked to K-12 schools and another 11 had been linked to colleges in Michigan. The Central Michigan District Health Department lists the cases in Gladwin County at a total 73.

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