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Schools lean toward in-person classes but keep virtual, hybrid options

Updated learning plans to start second semester of school year

As Kent County public schools head into the second half of a tumultuous school year marked by periodic closures and shifting learning plans, more districts are aiming to resume in-person or hybrid instruction even as the pandemic continues its unpredictable course.   

The 20 local school districts along with the Kent Career Tech Center are providing instruction models ranging from fully in-person classes to all-virtual learning to a hybrid combo of in-person and virtual. They continue to offer an option of all-virtual instruction for those students who want it, while bringing students into schools with safety and distancing measures as conditions allow.

The plans vary by district and grade level, with elementary schools generally seen as safer for in-person classes and allowing for grouping cohorts of students, while high schoolers are viewed as more capable of virtual or hybrid learning and more likely to spread the virus. 

Some districts are resuming or continuing in-person classes this week, while others are staying virtual before opening classrooms in a week or two. 

Grand Rapids Public Schools, which was all-remote for the first semester, is going to a hybrid schedule for all students on Jan. 19, following advice from the Kent County Health Department that high schools should remain remote through Jan. 15. Wyoming Public Schools are all-virtual until Jan. 18, switching then to in-person. Rockford middle and high schools will be hybrid until Jan. 18, to protect against a potential spike in cases statwide, before going in-person. (Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted a state ban on in-person learning at high schools shortly before Christmas.) 

Following are the Kent ISD school districts’ latest learning plans as of Tuesday, Jan 5. 

Byron Center 
Grades K-6: fully in-person  
Grades 7-12: hybrid model 

Elementary grades: continue in-person learning
Middle and high schools: continue hybrid learning model through Jan. 15
All students: goal is to return to full in-person learning on Jan. 19 

Cedar Springs  
All grades: students who chose in-person learning will return to campus on Monday, Jan. 11.  Red Hawk Online students will continue to learn remotely. 

Comstock Park  
Grades K-8: hybrid Jan. 4-15, in-person beginning Jan. 18 
Grades 9-12: all-virtual Jan. 4-8, hybrid Jan. 11-15, in-person beginning Jan. 18

East Grand Rapids 
Grades K-5: choice of in-person, full virtual with EGRPS virtual teachers or full virtual with Pearson teachers
Grades 6-8: choice of in-person, full virtual with EGRPS teachers or full virtual with Pearson/Michigan Virtual Teachers 
Grades 9-12: in-person M, T, TH and F, or full virtual with EGRPS teachers or with Michigan Virtual teachers 

Forest Hills 
Jan. 4-8: grades K-5 in-person, 6-8 hybrid, 9-12 virtual
Jan 11-15: grades K-6 in-person, 7-12 hybrid 

Grades K-5: in-person instruction
Grades 6-12: Virtual through Jan. 22, in-person with virtual option beginning Jan. 25 

Godwin Heights
All grades: distance learning through Jan. 15; return to in-person instruction Jan. 19  

Grand Rapids
Jan. 4-15: all students 100% virtual 
Jan. 19: hybrid for all students PK-12 who chose that model, 100% virtual available for all students who selected it (will work case-by-case for students who would like to switch plans due to extenuating circumstances)  

Elementary schools: back to normal of in-person or virtual, depending on what family originally chose
Grades 7-12: virtual this week, in-person or virtual beginning Jan. 11

All grades: distance learning through Jan. 18, with schools planned to reopen Jan. 19. Students will have a choice of in-person or virtual learning and can switch plans from first semester. 

Kenowa Hills  
Elementary grades: hybrid until Jan. 11, when they will return to in-person learning 
Middle school: hybrid
High school: virtual; decision on future plan for both schools to be announced Jan. 12. Superintendent Gerald Hopkins “fully anticipates” students returning to learning either in-person or some form of hybrid for spring semester. 

Kent Career Tech Center
Through Jan. 8: virtual
Starting Jan. 11: in-person

Kent City
All grades: in-person learning returns on Wednesday, Jan. 6 

Pre-K-12: 100 % remote learning continued Jan. 4 and 5 to allow the Kent County Health Department the opportunity to contact trace 11 full days from Dec. 25. Fully in-person resumed Wednesday, Jan. 6

Elementary schools: in-person
Middle school: hybrid 
High school: remote until Jan. 11, when they move to hybrid schedule
LAS Academy: Fully remote

Through Jan. 15: grades DK-8, in-person cohorts; grades 9-12, virtual
As of Jan. 19: DK-6 in-person M, T, TH and F; grades 7-12 in-person cohorts M, T, TH and F  

Grades DK-5: in-person instruction grouped by cohorts
Grades 6-12: hybrid model of two days in-person, three days virtual, through Jan. 15. If there is no surge in positive tests results, those grades will be back to in-person on Jan. 18. 

All grades: resume in-person instruction. Changes from in-person to virtual or from virtual to in-person will take place Monday, Jan. 18.

Thornapple Kellogg
• Choice of in-person or virtual instruction

PK-12: 100 % remote learning continues through Jan. 15. In-person instruction scheduled to resume Jan. 18.  


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