Hopkins schools happy so far with battle vs. Covid

As the academic year draws to a close, Hopkins Public Schools officials can say they have fared better than most in the persistent war against the Coronavirus.

Hopkins ditched the hybrid instructional model in early March and has been able to offer in-person classes for four days a week and Wednesdays for Internet since then.

Superintendent Gary Wood told the Board of Education Monday night that the number of Covid cases for students and staff was 98 through May 14. Despite the success and recent relaxation of restrictions, he said the schools will continue to insist students mask up and observe distancing and hygienic protocols.

The 98 students and staff represented 5.8 percent of the district’s school population.

The superintendent, in a communication Tuesday, notified parents, students and staff:

• All buildings within the Hopkins Public school system will be in session five days/week for in-person instruction beginning next fall, unless otherwise required by agencies with jurisdiction in such matters.

● Masks will be optional in schools beginning fall 2021 if they are no longer required by law. However, there may be times when masks are required for a period of time, such as when an outbreak occurs.

● Quarantines may still exist; to what extent will be determined by the Allegan County Health Department. The district has no jurisdiction in determining quarantines, it simply provides close contact information to the health department.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board:

  • Learned that Hopkins is refinancing its bond payment down to 1.277% interest, thereby saving the school system $266,000.
  • Noted the implementation of a summer school program for students in grades K-8 three days a week for six weeks.
  • Was told by Wood that the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) may contribute as much as $10,000 toward the district’s $18,000 bill fighting an unfair labor practice claim.
  • Agreed to spend $320,125 with VanDyken Mechanical to replace an air handling unit.
  • Agreed to spend $63,624 with Hoekstra Roofing for replacing the middle school roof.
  • Heard from a private citizen who maintained the masks used by school officials against Covid are ineffective and insisted they and students only use N-95 masks.

“If you guys are going to do it (mask up), do it right and use N-95 masks,” he said.

Board President Jeff Gilder noted the masks are very expensive and there is hope they may not be needed in the near future.

  • Was told by Wood that thus far only three students have asked for all on-line instruction during the 2021-22 academic year.

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