The KPS school board makes the decision to stay virtual for the second trimester.


The formula used by the KPS school board to determine whether or not to send kids back to school hybrid.

Lily Stickley, Feature Editor

The 2020-2021 school year has been different from any other school year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Kalamazoo Public Schools, along with every school in the country, is having to make changes to keep their students safe. 

KPS made the decision, on August 3rd 2020, to have multiple options under their “Smart and Safe Start Plan,” but regardless of the option chosen, students started the school year virtually. 

For Option 1, the plan was to go virtual until December, then do a hybrid method starting in the winter and hopefully fully virtual in the spring. 

Option 2a is a program called “KPS Virtual Learning Path (KVLP)” which has 9-12 graders doing GradPoint, a program where you work at your own pace, all year round. The teachers will record attendance, but they are not necessarily from the school the student attends. 

Option 2b is called “KRESA Virtual & Innovative Collaborative (KVIC)” which has the students taking classes through KRESA while still being enrolled in KPS. 

Option 1, however, is the reason the KPS school board and administrators have been working to make a decision on whether or not their students should go back to school for the second trimester. The school board met on October 22 and finalized their decision that it is not yet safe to send students back to school using a hybrid schedule.  

During a town hall meeting on October 12, the Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri explained how the hybrid option would look. The day-to-day is two in-person days of class, one day for SEL/cleaning, and then two days will be individual work on the days students are not in school. 

“The days students do not physically attend school they will be working independently from home,” said Dr. Raichoudhuri,  “Because teachers are with the other group of students, access to teachers will be very limited during off days.” 

This could potentially cause problems if students are not understanding an assignment when they are on their off days instead of in-person. Students who struggle with remembering to do their assignments could fall behind with their assignments.

During the board meeting on October 22, the school board announced their finalized decision on whether or not to send students back to school hybrid. “The decision for trimester two has been made with the health and safety of our students and staff in mind,” said Dr. Raichoudhuri during Thursday night’s board meeting. 

A weighted formula was used to show how the decision was made. Teaching and non-teaching staff had one point per group worth 11.1% a piece, for how much their opinion weighed on the decision. Parents had two points, or 22.2% of the decision. Research, looking at how other schools in the area are doing with being back at school, had two points or 22.2%, and the Kalamazoo Area Health Department was worth three points, or 33.3%. Now this isn’t to say that anyone’s opinion is worth more than another’s, but the decision was made while based primarily on the facts and the science. 

The school board voted unanimously: stay remote. “Kalamazoo Public Schools will remain in remote instruction for Trimester 2” said Dr. Raichoudhuri. 

Loy Norrix Senior Makenzie Sackett said, “I’m a little disappointed, knowing that I won’t be able to see my friends and teachers, as well as get back into my old routine. I do understand why and it’s important… but it kind of sucks.”