Students will need to wait a while longer to go back to the classroom as the Saginaw Public School board approves a change to its Return to Learn plan.

This year’s classes will now start on September 8th, rather than August 31st, and all 5,700 students will be receiving Chromebooks in order to learn from home.

Course material will be split between live Zoom video conference instruction and posted course material on Google classroom.

The status of online vs. in-person classes will still be reviewed every four weeks as originally proposed, but Superintendent Dr. Ramont Roberts believes class will stay online-only until November 2nd (the end of the first quarter) as COVID-19 case numbers in the Saginaw area continue to be comparatively high.

Teacher safety was a major concern in addition to student safety, as discussion still continues with the Saginaw teacher’s union after the decision to have teacher return to the classroom as a homebase for the Zoom instruction.

Scheduling of Teachers will be staggered to allow less contact between individuals, but the extra week delay to the beginning of the school year will give time to further prepare for the newer format and work on instructions for parents and students to follow in order to get needed course work.

He says a potential shortage of Personal Protective Equipment due to ordering complications, and 3,000 of the district’s 5,700 students opting for the online-only choice under the previously proposed plan were also key reasons for the change.

An abrupt return to classrooms is also out of the question, as Dr. Roberts adds the fluid situation may mean a 2 to 4 week enactment of updated rules once it’s determined safe to return to school buildings.

WI-FI Hotspots will be set up for those without home internet to use in the parking lots of district buildings.

To read the FULL revised version of the SPSD Return to Learn plan, you can visit the school’s website.