By Jaleelah Ahmed
Editor’s note: Recently, Hamtramck Public Schools Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed sent district parents a letter, notifying them of the district’s plan to return to in-person learning. Here is that letter:
I am pleased to report that on Wednesday, March 10th, the Hamtramck Public Schools Board of Education approved a return to in-person learning plan for April.
This plan was developed in tandem with key stakeholders to support the continued academic, social and emotional growth of our children, while maintaining the district’s commitment to the health and well-being of the entire school community.
While online learning will still be available, we believe — in light of decreased local COVID rates and teachers’ access to the vaccine — the time is right to offer an in-person learning option for our students.
With the majority of our students having been out of our school buildings for nearly a year, we have determined a gradual return to in-person learning will be the best option for the children we are privileged to serve.
Thus, we will begin offering half-day in-person instruction for our K-6 students starting April 5, while our 7-12 students may return to their school buildings for half-day instruction beginning on April 19.
We will be limiting the number of students attending in-person school at each building. More information regarding the specifics of the return to in-person learning will be provided in the coming days. Each principal will send a registration survey with a deadline for responses for the families opting for the in-person learning.
For those who opt in, in-person learning provides daily structure, including normative routines and expectations; access to timely, in-person, academic and emotional support; increased wellness checks completed by staff; access to face-to-face meetings with social workers and school counselors; and frequent follow-up to ensure students are safely acclimating to the new school reality.
Throughout the last year, we have demonstrated an abundance of caution rooted in our commitment to our students, families, teachers and staff. We are proud to report we safely and successfully reopened our learning labs last week.
Across our schools, we continue to have COVID-19 protocols in place, including social distancing, masks for all students and staff and a restriction on visitors to our buildings.
Additionally, we also have continued our regular cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
As we look to expand our in-person learning options, we will not force parents to bring their children to the schools. During these challenging times, we want our parents and families to have a choice. Across Michigan, 98% of schools have safely returned to some form of in-person instruction.
We recently surveyed our families, and 40% indicated they are interested in in-person learning.
Thus, we are committed to offering in-person learning opportunities to those families that choose this option, while also ensuring that those families interested in continuing with remote learning are able to do so.
We know this is not an easy time for our families. That’s why we have taken every necessary precaution to promote the safe return for our children, including engaging Three Sixty Safety, an external company specializing in workplace safety and safety team-building development.
It’s why we’ve gone through every building to review safety protocols and to ensure the ventilation systems are working as they should. We hope being one of the last schools in Michigan to implement in-person learning this school year reinforces how seriously we have vetted the process to return.
As always, if you require assistance, please contact our office at (313) 892-2038. You may also reach the following individuals for additional support:
• Amra Poskovic (Bosnian), School and Community Facilitator: email@example.com; Phone: (313) 912-4502.
• Aiysha Shamim (Bangla), Parent engagement Liaison: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: (313) 365-5861 Ext. 6852.
• Rasmia Alnajar (Arabic), Parent Engagement Facilitator: email@example.com; Phone: (313) 717-2259.
• Corlis Brown-Lloyd, Parent Engagement Facilitator:
firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (313) 365-5861 Ext 6852
• Marc Wilkinson, Technology Director: email@example.com; Phone: (313) 892-7505 Ext. 3205.
• Technology Center Support Days/Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (313) 305-6976
• District Nurse Pieknik, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Sarah Peslar LMSW, Clinical Social Worker, email@example.com; Phone (313) 891-9473
We cannot wait to see all of our students back in our schools – whether it happens this school year or next – and we are working diligently to facilitate the return to in-person learning for all.
Until then, we appreciate the continued patience and understanding of our families throughout the pandemic, and we are grateful for the hard work and dedication our teachers and staff have demonstrated in their commitment to the students and families we are privileged to serve.
Working together, we will support the academic, social and emotional growth of the community’s children.
Posted March 19, 2021