Superintendent Update

From the Office of the Superintendent Dr. Christina Hinds

Superintendent Hinds Return to Learn Update

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Dear Families,

I am writing to update you on our return to school plans. We've received an overwhelming response from families who would like to their student(s) to return to school face-to-face. This is a testament to our strong community and love of our school district. It also speaks to our desire to return to relationships and connection. Our Return to Learn committee, made up of teachers, parents, building administrators and support staff, met to discuss the best possible option to allow for the greatest number of students to experience face-to-face instruction while we remain in Phase 4.Unfortunately, with over 80% of our families indicating that they want a face-to-face return, we are unable to safely accommodate that number of students and meet the requirements set forth by the MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap during Phase 4 with over 80% of our students in attendance.

As mentioned in our July 24th communication, "If the preference for in-person instruction exceeds our ability to provide a safe and healthy environment, we may need to consider a blended option of instruction (in-person and remote instruction)."

Wayland Union Schools will welcome students back to the district following a hybrid model. Families who would like 100% online instruction have the choice of enrolling in the Virtual Academy of Allegan County.

  • Students who are returning to in-person instruction will be divided into two groups by last name and attend school in-person two days per week.
  • Students with the last names A-K will attend on Mondays and Thursdays. Students with the last names L-Z will attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. Families who have children with different last names (who live in the same household) will have the opportunity to follow the same schedule. Please complete this form to indicate that need.
  • Wednesdays will be remote instruction for all students.
  • On the days when students are not in-person, they will have independent work to complete remotely with the ability to connect virtually with designated staff members for support.
  • All families who did not enroll in VAAC will automatically be assigned to a hybrid instruction group. If your family wants to enroll in VAAC, please complete this form.

Additional information regarding the details of the Phase 4 Return to Learn Plan are available on the Return to Learn area of our district website.

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On Monday, August 10, 2020, our Board of Education will review and approve our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. A link to the virtual meeting will be posted to our district website.

Should our region move back to Phase 1-3, we will provide remote instruction, Wildcats Online, for all students. If we advance to Phase 5, we will return to school with all of our students in-person, except those who have enrolled in the Virtual Academy of Allegan County (VAAC). As you're making plans for the school year, please consider the phases. As we learned from the spring, school closures can come without warning.

We are preparing our district for a safe return following all Phase 4 guidelines, which include face masks and increased cleaning protocols. You will hear from your building principals about the upcoming virtual Open Houses. We look forward to seeing our Wildcats, with the last names ending in A-K on Monday, August 24, as well as those with the last names ending in L-Z on Tuesday, August 25.

My last update spoke to the importance of our unity. We continue to face difficult times during this pandemic. Each of us face challenges which may not be known to others. It is during these times, our unity must hold us together. As stated by Henry Ford, "Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress. Working together is success." When we come together to support our students and we remain unified, we are providing the education our students deserve. The teachers, staff, and administrators of Wayland UNION Schools look forward to partnering with you as we journey through this pandemic together!

With Wildcat Pride,

Dr. Christina M. Hinds

Wayland Union Schools


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A review... Phases Defined

To better understand the return to school phases, please find

a brief breakdown with graphic above.

Phases 1-3:

According to the MI Safe Schools Roadmap, a return to school in Phases 1 - 3 is completely remote learning; therefore if the State of Michigan moves us back into Phases 1 through 3, WUS will be providing remote instruction. If this occurs, you will notice changes to our format, curriculum, and expectations from distance learning in the spring. We have reviewed survey feedback from parents, students, and teachers and are planning for increased direct instruction, streamlined communication and delivery of content, and consistent procedures around the documentation of attendance and participation.

Phase 4:

Wayland Union Schools is located in Allegan County. Allegan County continues to be in Phase 4 of the Return to School Roadmap. In Phase 4, school districts may opt for face-to-face instruction, remote instruction, or hybrid instruction (both face-to-face and remote). Our neighbors have announced plans varying from remote to hybrid instruction. To comply with the Michigan Return to School Roadmap and honor the requests of our families who have requested in-person instruction, Wayland Union Schools will utilize a hybrid instruction format while in Phase 4.

In Phase 4, the Michigan Return to School Roadmap requires stringent safety protocols such as:

  • Face masks

    • All students preK-12 always wearing face masks on the bus;

    • All students preK-12 always wearing face masks in the hallways and common areas;

    • Students, in grades preK-5, must wear face masks in classrooms unless they remain in their classroom all day and do not come in contact with other students;

    • Students, in grades 6-12, must wear face masks in all classrooms;

    • All staff members always wearing face masks, except during meals

  • Increased cleaning protocols; and

  • Increased hygiene practices and instruction.

Phase 5:

When our region moves to Phase 5, all Wayland Union students (except those enrolled in VAAC) and staff will return to face-to-face instruction five days per week. We will follow the directives from the MI Safe Start Plan, the Governor’s Return to School Roadmap, and Executive Orders.

Phase 6:

Post-pandemic. Return to school as we have typically experienced it.