- Sponsorship -

Comstock Park offers hybrid or all virtual options

Comstock Park Public Schools sent out a couple of surveys to parents, staff and community members about their preferences for opening school this fall. The majority overwhelmingly wanted face-to-face instruction, with half favoring a hybrid approach and half favoring all-day, every day, Superintendent Dave Washburn said.

With teachers involved in the decision-making, the district settled on a hybrid option: Students will be divided into two groups and attend school on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday, with Wednesday reserved for deep cleaning. Board members on Aug. 10 unanimously approved the plan, which Washburn called “a happy medium.”

If conditions improve by Sept. 21, the district will move to four days of in-person classes for elementary school students. It is uncertain when the middle and high schools could accommodate the entire student body four days a week. 

In a letter to parents, Washburn said the district will continue to work with the Kent County Health Department and other state agencies to identify the best strategies for returning the entire student body to school together. School-specific plans are outlined on www.cpschools.com.

An all-virtual option is also available, with students asked to commit to a full semester. Washburn said the virtual option will be taught by Comstock Park teachers using the Edgenuity platform, a national provider of K-12 online learning solutions. As of Aug. 21,  452 students — approximately 25 percent — out of a student body of more than 1,800 selected the all-virtual option, according to Washburn.

He acknowledged that teachers are anxious about going back to school. Class sizes will start at about 15 students compared to the usual 28-30. Physical education classes will take place outside for as long as possible, and teachers will be able to take their students outside during the school day for breaks from wearing masks.

The district doesn’t expect teacher layoffs. Washburn said there were about nine retirements, and two teachers who were granted a year’s leave of absence. State per-pupil funding remains uncertain until the end of September.

Prior to the pandemic the district spent $200,000 from its general fund on technology. Every student who needs one will be issued a Chromebook as well as personal hotspot if they do not have reliable Internet at home. 

Washburn praised the community for being very patient, allowing administrators to take the time to make the best decision for students and staff. 

- Sponsorship -
Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry covers Comstock Park. She is from Evansville, Indiana and St. Joseph, Mich. and a graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School and Central Michigan University. She moved to the Grand Rapids area in the mid-1980s and has been a resident of Comstock Park since 2002. She understands the complexity, rewards and challenges of the teaching profession as she has five years of experience as a high school teacher at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Mich. and St. Stephen High School in Saginaw. As a reporter for the Advance Newspapers and Mlive she covered Sparta, Kent City and Northview schools. She is happy to be reunited with some of her journalism colleagues and writing about Comstock Park Public Schools for the School News Network. Read Karen's full bio or email Karen.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Comstock Park closes all schools for in-person instruction

Dave Washburn, superintendent of Comstock Park Schools, said the decision to go all-virtual was made due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases among staff and students, as well as the number of staff and students quarantined...

Laughter, lessons & support for virtual students, parents

Key to learning from home: get outside, be safely social and find ways to bond, moms say...

Superheroes, jungle explorers, Cinderella join virtual kindergarten lessons

As an all-virtual kindergarten teacher at Stoney Creek Elementary, Tiffany Imhoff is constantly adapting and tweaking her lessons to keep her students engaged and learning...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU