Most area school boards have narrowly approved back-to-school plans that feature in-classroom learning for elementary school students, but the Lakeview District has decided to keep all students and teachers home, at least for the first 9 weeks.

Lakeview School Superintendent Blake Prewitt was a guest on the WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.

“We’ll be starting with completely virtual, online learning for the first trimester, for grades K-12,” said Prewitt. “We had a vigorous debate and process of really looking at all the ins and outs of what would be the best and it came down to this question:  ‘What is the safest way to hold school with the highest quality education?’”

Prewitt said discussions often centered on the uncertainty of the virus.  “There’s a lot we don’t know about COVID, as we can see from the Big 10 shutting down and concerns about long-term effects on the athlete’s hearts.“

Another issue of concern was maintaining social distancing.  “In and 800 square foot classroom, it is nearly impossible to have little kids in a classroom all day long for 7 hours and expect that they are all going to keep six feet apart from each other and the teacher.”

Prewitt says their traditional virtual school will be done by Lakeview teachers.  “We’ve been working since May to create our virtual program, looking at best practices from around the world.”   He says he’s done Zoom meetings with principals in Israel, Denmark, South Korea, as well as many districts around Michigan who have been doing virtual for a while.

“We do have the Lakeview Virtual Academy that we started opening up in June for parents that want to have their students full online, for the full year, regardless.  That’s a whole different program.  Lakeview teachers are the mentors for that program, but we are using some third-party curriculum for that.”   Prewitt says those companies provide content, and the students are mentored by Lakeview teachers.   “We’ve been doing that in our Alternative Ed for the past year with great success, so it’s a type of virtual program that we’ve already been running and tweaking.”

Prewitt says the program will be quite different from the norm.  “For example, at the High School, you’d start working on two classes and once you get done with those two classed you’d move on to the next two.   In a traditional Lakeview High School, you’re working on six classes.  We’re doing the virtual learning at the K-12 traditional schools to be ready to move to face to face whenever we can.”

Prairieview Elementary-Google Street view
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