Lowell Area Schools taking a hybrid approach to fall

Based on community feedback, students in Lowell have the option of returning to school either fully online or using a hybrid in-person plan that will eventually shift to all face-to-face learning.   

K-12 students choosing in-person school are being split into two groups and attend in-person or online classes on alternating days, meaning only half the number of students will be in person at a time. Grades K-5 will return to full-time, in-person learning on Sept. 14, and grades 6-12 will remain hybrid until Sept. 25.

School was to begin Aug. 25 with a remote “virtual connection day” for everyone, regardless of their choice. District staff were to use the day to do a test run of all safety procedures in anticipation of some students arriving the following day. 

“All the teachers, paraprofessionals, lunch people, and everyone else will be on-site to practice our plans, make sure we can get kids fed and in and out of the building and see that everybody knows what their roles are,” said interim Superintendent Nate Fowler.

On Sept. 28 the current plan is for all students who have chosen in-person learning to return to their school buildings full-time. 

“The idea is that, if we feel it’s safe to bring kids back face-to-face five days a week, we definitely want that, but we have to do it slowly,” said Fowler. “It’s why we gave ourselves two extra weeks with the secondary grades, knowing that there are more challenges with things like changing classes and larger class sizes.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate our plan and see how well we can execute it, watch how the number of [COVID-19] cases are going and communicate to families any changes as we go.”

Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is a reporter and copy editor, covering Cedar Springs, Godfrey-Lee, Grandville and Lowell. She is an award-winning journalist who got her start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate, she later returned to her alma mater to help manage its national writing festival and edit and write for enrollment communications. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press, Fox 17 and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio

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