Plan Updates at the Last Board Meeting Before Return

Solidification of Return-to-School Plan along with Greater Optimism of Board Members


Since March 13, 2020 classrooms throughout the district have sat empty like the one in the photo. Students will be returning on March 1, 2021. Photo by Endri Killo on Unsplash

With one week until all ELPS schools move to hybrid instruction the school board met Feb. 22. They discussed final updates to the return to school plan and finalized details. 

One update included more details on the possible antigen testing of students and teachers. These tests will be performed in collaboration with Ingham County health officials and will be self-administered and optional.

“We are going to start with 300 [students participating in testing] which is about half of the students coming back,” Superintendent Dori Leyko said.

She went on to clarify that to take part in tests students under 18 will need consent from their parent or guardian, while students over 18 will need to provide their own consent. It is expected that testing will increase over time.

This is one of many health precautions which will be taken, which includes physical/social distancing. A minimum of three feet distance is required by the school at all times- however, according to the CDC, six feet of distance is “optimal.” At the meeting, Leyko said that four point five/and a half to six feet will be maintained “most of the time.” 

These new health guidelines inside school buildings have assured some Board of Education members who were previously hesitant about the plan..

“When I saw the schools it really convinced me,” Debbie Walton, the only member to vote against reopening during the Board of Education meeting on Jan. 25, said.

Additionally, the Board of Education approved a statement to the Governor’s office requesting clearance to meet in-person or hybrid, which is currently not allowed by state guidelines. 

Board of Education members generally expressed optimism in the plan and voiced enthusiasm about returning to school.