How EGR, Forest Hills and Kentwood will start fall school

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As we near the start of the school year, school districts are beginning to roll out their plans so parents can prepare for for the fall semester — be it in the classroom or at the kitchen table.

The plans are contingent on staying in recovery stage 4, where West Michigan has been for weeks. If for any reason we slip back to 3, any plans for in-person learning would have to be put on hold. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she’ll make those decisions based on data, not with any deadline in mind.

“There’s not a perfect time that we will have a precise understanding that gives people notice for people to do all the appropriate planning,” Whitmer said during a Tuesday afternoon briefing. “We have to remain nimble and it’s hard. I don’t like saying that because my personal motto is that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We’re doing planning for lots of different contingencies. That’s why we take this so seriously. But we have to recognize there may be different contingencies. It all depends on the saturation of COVID-19 cases across our state.”

Below, see the fall semester for East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Kentwood schools, which explain when and how classes will be held to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus and keep kids learning.

Your school may have also released its plan; check for an outline from the district on the school’s website or Facebook page, or for a letter sent to families.


East Grand Rapids Public Schools is launching with a hybrid option on Aug. 24.

Elementary students will be learning in-person, isolated with the same group of kids in the same room all day. Middle and high school students will be split up into “blue” and “gold” groups, then alternate days and times for in-person and remote learning.

The district laid it all out in a plan posted online.


Forest Hills Public Schools says it is pushing its start date back to Aug. 31. The district had been planning to start Aug. 24. In a letter to parents, Superintendent Dan Behm said the extra time would allow staff members to undergo training for new safety protocols.

Behm said the district will roll out its plan for what school will look like by Aug. 3, adding it will contain options for in-person or virtual learning.


Kentwood Public Schools says it will start the fall semester with two weeks of online learning, after which parents will have the choice to send their kids to school in person.

Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff said in a letter to parents that online learning would start Aug. 24. Starting Sept. 8, an in-person option will be available.

Zoerhoff said the district will use those two weeks to train students and staff members on safety protocols and extra cleaning efforts. The two weeks of online learning will also prepare students in case the outbreak worsens and all schools must again remain close.

Grand Rapids Public Schools announced Monday that its students would be learning online only for the first nine weeks of school, through Oct. 21, at which point it may transition to hybrid or in-person options.

Battle Creek Public Schools is starting with kindergarten through fifth grade in person and sixth through 12th grades remote.

—News 8 political reporter Rick Albin contributed to this report.

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