Dexter school board is looking forward to getting back to in-person


Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Over the past 10 months, going virtually for its meetings has worked for the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education. It’s had to in order for the board to get some of the important work of the school district done.

However, the school board is hoping to soon get back to in-person while continuing to have a virtual option.

At its Feb. 8 meeting, the Dexter school board unanimously approved a resolution requesting that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Governor Gretchen Whitmer allow school boards to return to meeting in person.

School board president Julie Schumaker said as it stands now, the board cannot begin meeting in-person until after March 30.

In making the motion to approve the resolution, school board treasurer Dick Lundy said there’s been some questioning of the logic and consistency of the in-person orders.

Among the things getting back to some form of in-person, including students learning, Lundy said the state legislature has been meeting in-person, which has a much larger group than the school board.

Schumaker said she fully supports the resolution and noted that students are being encouraged to get back to in-person and sports are being resumed, but the school board cannot yet meet in–person.

She said with certain measures in place, including having a room with proper spacing for social distancing and everyone wearing masks, she thinks they could safely handle a meeting.

There were 41 participants attending the Feb. 8 virtual meeting.

School board trustee Elise Bruderly said she also supports the idea to begin meeting in-person, just as long as proper safety measures are in place, but she also agreed they should continue to offer a live stream for those who want to attend remotely.

On the other side of things, Schumaker said she does see some potential difficulties with in-person, such as speaking through masks and how that might cause some people to not fully hear what’s being said.

She said it would be good to at least begin having board workshops and committee meetings in person.

It was noted that the school district has invested in new microphones to help with speaking and hearing during meetings.

Here is Dexter’s resolution to permit school boards to meet in person:

WHEREAS, school districts have been strongly encouraged to begin offering in-person instruction by March 1, 2021 and each local school board has the responsibility to make that ultimate decision for their school district, and

WHEREAS, Dexter Community Schools has worked diligently to prepare for and implement the return to in-person learning for all students in grades PreK, K-12 and post-secondary; and WHEREAS, all students and staff are permitted by the state of Michigan, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, to attend school in person; and

WHEREAS, members of school boards are the only individuals within their school districts who are not permitted to meet in person; and

WHEREAS requiring school boards to meet virtually while encouraging students to attend school in person and for staff to work in person sends a mixed message to our community and staff, and

WHEREAS, Dexter Community Schools would like the ability to meet in person with strong health and safety mitigation measures in place that are consistent with measures taken for all other school classes and activities;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, Dexter Community Schools requests that MDHHS and the Governor to allow school boards to have the option to meet either virtually, in-person or a combination of the two beginning immediately.

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