WIC plans to reopen as scheduled
IRON RIVER — As the scheduled start of the 2020-21 school year creeps closer and closer, districts are working daily to meet the challenges they face in order to provide their students a quality education and keep everyone involved as safe as possible.
For this is the beginning of the first full school year after the outbreak and resulting pandemic of the novel coronavirus. When COVID-19 hit last winter/spring, the state of Michigan quickly suspended schools, and students and staff never returned to in-person learning and the buildings never reopened.
This year, at least for now, local students and staff will return to their schools in person, leaving districts to try to prepare for a virtual blizzard of contingencies before, in West Iron County’s case, school begins on Aug. 25.
At its regular monthly meeting on July 21, the West Iron County School Board discussed the realities of meeting its educational responsibilities in the constantly shifting world of COVID-19 and its effects.
To listen to the board members, administrators and teachers speak was a dizzying experience as one topic often brought up two more.
But first the bottom line: the districts in the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District – West Iron County, Forest Park, Breitung Township, Iron Mountain, North Dickinson and Norway-Vulcan – all plan to open on schedule.
West Iron County Superintendent Chris Thomson, along with the other superintendents in the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District, have engaged in several meetings as the clock winds down on what will likely be the strangest reopening of their careers.
The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department has been part of the discussions as well. As Thomson said, little is clear or straight forward as the calendar heads into August.
“I wish I could tell all of you that they created some clarity for us moving forward,” Thomson began. “Everybody’s at the same point right now and that point is .... cloudy or in limbo.”
Take just one topic – the idea of taking students’ temperatures as they arrive in the morning. The WIC school district had planned on doing so, but that plan has been put on hold, as well.
“Bringing that up with the health department and guess what, there are legal issues with us taking temperatures of all the kids,” Thomson said.