Brighton Area Schools Board of Education was expected to vote Monday night on a plan to send students back to school in person but the meeting was delayed by technical issues.
While the school board gathered in person without an audience present, the public was given options for viewing the meeting remotely. They could choose to watch a live stream through Google Meet, join a Zoom video conference call, or call a phone number to listen in.
After about a half hour of audio and other technical problems, the school board voted to adjourn and reschedule the meeting to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
There were more than 490 people on the Zoom call when the meeting was adjourned.
Several people on the meeting did not mute themselves, causing chaotic audio. People also had trouble hearing board members.
“You’d think for such a critical meeting they’d take a minute and do a test run and be familiar with how to run a meeting. Maybe BVA offers a class on how to Zoom,” one virtual participant wrote in the chat box.
BVA is the district’s Brighton Virtual Academy, a fully online option.
“If this is how online schooling is going to work, I don’t have confidence in the coming school year,” another participant wrote.
Several participants said in the chat that they could not sign in to view the Google Meet livestream, instead getting an error message.
An official in the board room apologized for the technical issues and said it was unacceptable.
The use of multiple platforms had been intended to give as many people as possible a chance to speak.
Brighton’s proposed plan
The district has proposed sending students back to school in person four days a week, with a remote day on Wednesdays.
The district also would offer a virtual learning academy for grades K-12, which will be taught by Brighton teachers and follow the district’s curriculum.
In the proposed plan, younger students, pre-kindergarten through 6th grade would learn in designated classrooms, reducing points of contact between students in different classrooms.
Brighton High School, Scranton Middle School and Bridge would implement block scheduling. Students would attend half of their classes in a single day and the other half of their classes the following day.
All students must wear masks in hallways and common areas, and on buses.
Students would be required to wear masks in classrooms in grades 6-12, while students in grades K-5 must wear them in classrooms unless they remain with their class throughout the school day and do not come into close contact with students in another class, according to the plan.
Younger students, pre-kindergarten through grade 6, could eat lunch in classrooms or outside with their class.
Older students’ lunch times would be staggered to allow six feet of distance between students, according to the plan.
The first week of the school year, schools would have half-days with cafeterias closed for anything other than grab-n-go lunches in the district.
“Returning to school post quarantine will be a challenge emotionally for students and staff. Reducing the hours for the 1st week may also reduce anxiety related to the pandemic. Stamina for wearing facial coverings and social distancing will need to be built. Focus will be on teaching safety procedures and build relationships. Afternoons for students will involve remote learning activities,” the plan states.
Other school districts
The Howell Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan last week to send students back to school in-person five days a week, if Livingston County stays in phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan.
The district will also have an online learning option, Highlander Virtual.
Hartland Consolidated School Board of Education passed a plan Monday morning.
Students will have a “soft start” beginning Aug. 19, with students splitting their time between in-person and remote learning, according to the district’s plan. Schools will reopen for in-person instruction four days a week, with remote learning on Fridays after Labor Day.
Parents can opt for remote learning with an assigned Hartland teacher, with the option to move to in-person instruction with the same teachers.
Pinckney and Fowlerville schools are expected to put their reopening plans up for votes at special school board meetings this week.
Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education has pushed the first day of school to Sept. 8. In phase 4, students would attend school in person four days a week, with a remote day on Fridays.
The district is also offering a virtual academy for K-12 students.
Fowlerville Community Schools is proposing that, in phase 4, students would attend school in person four days a week and go remote on Wednesdays, Superintendent Wayne Roedel said Thursday.
The district is also offering an online option for all grades taught by teachers in the district. Students can enroll at any time, but can choose to go back to in-person every nine weeks.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at 517-548-7148 or at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @jennifer_timar.