We are committed to every student entrusted in our care and to make this year the best year yet for our students. We promise that your child will continue to learn, grow, and thrive whether you choose the in-person option or the virtual option. Together, we are all one Forest Hills, and together we will make this year exceptional!
Please frequent this page often as additional information is being uploaded.
When Forest Hills Public Schools receives notification of a COVID-19 positive test result within our school community, we work with the Kent County Health Department to inform any other student/staff that were in close contact with the person who received the positive case. When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, it is the responsibility of the Kent County Health Department to contact those identified as close contacts. The Kent County Health Department looks back 48 hours before the onset of symptoms when reviewing who may have been exposed and determining who may be a close contact. If you do not not qualify as a close contact, you will not hear from the health department.
To see current numbers of confirmed cases of students/staff in our district, please visit the FHPS dashboard on the Kent Intermediate School District’s website, linked here.
FHPS Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan
On August 20, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed House Bill 5913 into law as Public Act 149. Section 98a states that in order to receive state aid for 2020-2021, districts must provide for instruction under an extended COVID-19 Learning Plan (“Plan”) that has been approved by an intermediate district or authorizing body. The Plan does not replace the District’s/PSA’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, it is an additional plan that includes new assurances and sections on educational goals, instructional delivery, grading, and equitable access. PA 149 does not apply to districts that operate as a cyber school.
Daily Health Screener for Students
To ensure students attend school only when they are feeling well and free of COVID-19 symptoms, parents/guardians will need to conduct a daily health screener on each of your children prior to them attending school or a school-related event. The student screener, developed by the Kent County Health Department is a simple checklist helping you screen your child for COVID-19 symptoms and to determine close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent Behm’s Forest Hills Forecast Videos
The Forest Hills Forecast was a weekly video series compiled during the summer of 2020 to help keep the community, families, staff, and students in the know regarding all things back-to-school. It provided updates on return to learn plans, safety protocols, expectations, candid conversations, and what the district was learning from resources and entities such as the Kent County Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more. During the school year, Superintendent Behm’s main mode of communication is through SchoolMessenger via emails through this notification system. These emails are only sent to FHPS families who have a currently enrolled student in the district. If you would like to learn more about our SchoolMessenger system, need assistance, or wish to check to make sure you are receiving superintendent message, click here.
Return to Learn Plan
We are pleased to issue the Forest Hills Public Schools Return to Learn plan. Included in this plan are the details for how our schools will operate under each of the six phases of Michigan’s reopening plan, the MI Safe Start plan.
Our plan’s primary emphasis is the health and safety of all students, staff members, and families. Secondly, our plan is designed to engage students in rigorous, high-quality instruction designed to foster deep learning, mastery of essential standards, and social and emotional well-being and growth. Finally, our plan is designed to align with our district’s Guiding Principles.
In this plan, you will find details about what schedules will look like, both for in-person and virtual learning models, more specifics about a child’s day, expectations, details about immersion, social-emotional wellness, safety protocols, screening students, spacing, food service, transportation, extracurriculars, and much more. We invite you to take a look and read how FHPS is prepared to welcome our students and staff back on August 31.
Overview of the Return to Learn Plan
Our first day of school is Monday, August 31, 2020. We are pleased to release the highlights of our plan that describes how we will begin the 2020-21 school year. Our plan is based first and foremost on the health and safety of our students and staff members. Second, our plan is designed to deliver high-quality instruction, engage students, bolster social and emotional growth, and foster deep learning. The plan was developed using the most recent data and science surrounding COVID-19 and reflects the differences in risk this virus poses for younger children compared to older students. We are grateful for the assistance of our West Michigan medical community in affirming the safety aspects of our plan.
K-6 In-Person Instruction
For the first two weeks of the school year, K-6 students will be in one of two groups – “group A” or “group B.” We will utilize the same system to group students at the elementary level as we will use at the middle and high school level, thus keeping families on the same hybrid schedule. Group A will come to school on Monday and Wednesday of the first week of school and Tuesday and Thursday the second week (the week of Labor Day). Group B will come to school on Tuesday and Thursday the first week of school and Wednesday and Friday during the second week. This will reduce the number of students in our elementary buildings by 50% each day. This will allow for physical distancing measures in addition to cohorting and face coverings. Additionally, teachers will use these first two weeks to explain and practice with smaller groups of students all of the new routines and protocols we will utilize. On the days that elementary students are not attending school, they will be engaged in learning at home. As we approach the second week of the school year, we will examine conditions and make a decision about bringing elementary students back to school more than two days a week for the subsequent weeks of the fall.
K-6 Virtual Instruction
Forest Hills Public Schools is offering a full-time virtual learning option for FHPS families who do not want their children to attend school for in-person instruction. This option is being offered, initially, for the first semester (August 31 to winter break) of the 2020-2021 school year. It will include an assigned FHPS teacher, access to district instructional resources, curriculum, and standards.* In the event that there is minimal interest in full-time virtual learning with an FHPS teacher, students will be partnered with a local provider and a Forest Hills mentor.
To enroll your child in the full-time virtual option for the first semester of the school year, please complete the FHPS VIRTUAL OPTION SIGN-UP form.
Please note that the first semester begins August 31, 2020, (the first day of school) until winter break. You may not move back and forth between the in-person option and the virtual option during the first semester. If you believe the virtual option is best for your child, you must complete the form separately for each child you are signing up for the virtual option. All sign-ups for the virtual option must be submitted via the form by 5 p.m. Friday, August 14, 2020.
7-12 In-Person Instruction
For students in grades 7-12, we will begin the first four weeks of the school year with a hybrid in-person learning plan. This plan is designed to reduce the number of students by 50% in the school, during passing times, and in classrooms to allow for maximum social distancing. Students will be assigned to one of two groups, based upon a family’s last name. This will allow half of the students to attend school while the other half engage in remote learning at home. The first group of students will attend in-person learning all day Monday and Thursday. The second group of students will attend in-person learning all day on Tuesday and Friday. When students are not attending school in-person, they will be required to participate in remote learning and complete assignments at home. Both groups will engage in mandatory remote learning at home all day on Wednesday. Given that the first two weeks of the school year are four-day weeks, the schedule will be slightly different for these weeks and eliminates the all-student remote learning day in the middle of the week. This plan will allow district and health officials to closely monitor student and staff member health and the prevalence of the virus in our community. As we approach the end of the four-week period, we will see if conditions safely allow for an increase in the amount of time students spend at school.
7-12 Virtual Instruction
FHPS is expanding its longstanding partnership with Michigan Virtual (MV) to provide a fully online option to our 7-12 students. Our secondary students have previously found success utilizing MV courses when a course is not offered within our school or when an online course solves a student’s scheduling conflict. MV is accredited and fully aligned with the State of MI Standards, the Common Core Standards, and the Michigan Merit Curriculum to ensure our students are on a pathway towards graduation. High school students enrolled in MV pursue courses that fulfill FHPS graduation requirements. Students, in partnership with their FHPS mentor, will individually select courses that best fit their needs and interests.
To enroll your child in the full-time virtual option for the first semester of the school year, please complete the FHPS VIRTUAL OPTION SIGN-UP form. You must complete the form separately for each child you are signing up for the full-time virtual option. All sign-ups for the virtual option must be submitted via the form by 5 p.m. Friday, August 14, 2020. (After the deadline, please contact your child’s school building.)
Some additional points to consider about Michigan Virtual:
- Students, in partnership with their FHPS mentor and guidance counselor, will individually select courses that best fit their needs and interests.
- Students will receive grades from Michigan Virtual that will be placed on their FHPS transcript.
- Students with IEPs will continue to receive services through FHPS.
- MV offers dozens of core and elective courses, including Advanced Placement, statistics, economics, calculus, world history, US history, government, multiple world languages, music, art, chemistry, physics, and biology.
- World language classes are available to immersion students in the case that immersion classes in the target language are not provided due to limited participation.
- Key Features of Michigan Virtual:
- No scheduled synchronous learning
- Full asynchronous learning with teachers providing weekly office hours for drop-in support
- Teachers respond to student email within 24 hours
- Teachers provide video and/or text-based feedback on assignments within 72 hours
- Student-to-teacher and student-to-student interaction through email, text, discussion boards, and the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS)
- Link to Michigan Virtual class catalog
- Link to Michigan Virtual class prerequisites and class syllabi
Answers to Commonly-Asked Questions
Below you will find a small sampling of answers to questions we have received about our plan to Return to Learn this fall. Please note, questions pertaining to class teachers, suggested supply lists, student drop off and pick up lines, back-to-school orientations, meet-and-greets, and similar topics will be communicated at the building level. Please contact your child’s school for specific building-related questions.
General Return to Learn Questions are as Follows:
If you have additional questions about returning to learn this fall, please call the FHPS administration office, 616-493-8800, or email your questions to us.
Useful Links to Additional Information
The following links provide additional information to safety information, COVID-19 testing sites, and more.
- Spectrum Health: Spectrum Health has launched a great resource and web page containing videos for families and children, from what to do when you're sick, to wearing masks, and much more. Check it out and explore this page together with your family.
- CDC Appropriate Masks
- Kent County Health Department's School Toolkit
- Kent County Health Department FAQs
- COVID-19 Return to School toolkit from the Michigan Association of Local Public Health Safe Schools Workgroup
- Michigan’s 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap
- Mental Health Resources
- Kent Intermediate School District Resources for Teachers and Guidelines from the Kent County Health Department
- View all of Superintendent Behm’s Forest Hills Forecast Videos