The Learning Curve: Coloma prepared for students' return to classrooms

COLOMA, Mich. -- Our Learning Curve series continues with Coloma Community Schools, where the district has coordinated with not only the health department, but also families, for its back to school decisions.

It started with online surveys to get an idea of what options parents wanted this school year and as Coloma Superintendent Dave Ehlers got more input, he also started doing weekly videos providing all of the resources families would need.

The district has been preparing for the fall semester since classrooms were shut down in March. Testing out E-learning technology with teachers, having custodians do weekly deep cleanings and consulting parents on all of these big decisions.

“We chose to offer in-person learning and a virtual academy option for our parents, and we had about 13 or 14 percent of our parents take advantage of the virtual and then the rest have indicated they’re coming back,” said Ehlers.

For those choosing to come back, Coloma is easing into the year, staggering school days for the first week.

“We’re bringing in a grade level in each building each day, testing our safety protocols and then the second week - after Labor Day - we will resume full force, everybody will be here,” said Ehlers.

Ehlers also said having two, separate options for students is the safer route.

“We avoided the hybrid, which splits kids into groups and has some kids here and some kids not, then rotating, because that was deemed the most dangerous by our health department.”

The district has also continuously shared resources from the health department for families on their social media, plus, weekly addresses from Ehlers breaking down those staggered class schedules and walking parents through just how E-learning will work.

While the district hasn’t been able to please everyone, Ehlers says most parents have been grateful for the abundance of information.

“Any time I send something out I generally get some responses from parents, ‘Thanks for getting the information out,’” said Ehlers. “We believe in trying to get as much information out there for our parents, because if not they’ll fill in the gaps and that’s not always a positive way to do things.”

A full layout of Coloma’s back to school plans can be found at:

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