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First day of school for Gwinn Area Community Schools and Birchview Elementary

After months of planning, students in Gwinn and Ishpeming officially rang in their first day of in-person classes.
Buses outside Birchview Elementary
Buses outside Birchview Elementary(WLUC)
Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 7:49 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - After months of planning, students in Gwinn and Ishpeming officially rang in their first day of in-person classes.

Matthew Byce, Birchview Elementary principal, said new challenges will come with the new year.

“It’s been really nice to be able to see all the kids faces and have them be in here and you know, move from trying to anticipate what’s going to happen into what is actually happening and being able to face those challenges as they arise in real time.”

However, with those new challenges comes new precautions.

Gwinn Area Community Schools Superintendent, Sandy Petrovich, said there will be more cleaning daily.

“We’re going to clean the buses, clean the bathrooms more often during the day. Clean the doorknobs more often during the day. So, certain safety measures, certain cleaning protocols are additional this year than what they would have been in the past,” she said.

With these changes, the commitment to education remains the same.

“The visual parts of school are different, but the learning is not different,” Petrovich said.

Around 250 kids, around 25 percent of students, in Gwinn completing online classes, Petrovich says all classmates are learning the same criteria.

“Their lessons are the same during the week, their assignments are the same. Instead of delivering face-to-face, teachers are then recording some lessons, putting assignments online, and giving them the same content and same instruction just in a different format,” she said.

In-person learners are being given mask breaks when needed. Both schools are allowing teachers to bring their students outside at any time of the day for fresh air and no masks. “We’re trying our best and we’re doing our best and I think if everyone’s patient and flexible and works as a team, it’s going to be a great year,” Byce said. And the first day was just the beginning of a hopeful school year.

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