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Coopersville teachers prepare to head back to the classroom

A Coopersville teacher wants parents know that she cares deeply about their kids safety.

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. — School districts across West Michigan are releasing their plans to bring students and teachers back into the classroom this fall. Kelly VanderHoek is an English teacher in Coopersville Public High School. She says she is ready to go back to in person learning. 

"My number one concern is doing what's right for kids and what's right for the community," says VanderHoek. "I want to go back, I miss it. I know that the students want to be in school and that their parents want them to be in school, but we have to do that safely."

VanderHoek says in-person interactions are important, and that all online learning is not the best option for everyone. She says she expects the classroom experience to look at feel different to keep everyone healthy and safe.

"My personal thought would be to have kids in school, perhaps on staggered schedule with smaller class sizes to allow for proper social distancing. Certainly masks are an important part of that too."

On Friday, parents in Coopersville received a letter detailing options for students. The high school staff will meet on Monday, and superintendents and principals have already been in talks through virtual meetings.

"It's a tight timeline and I know for myself and for my colleges and the community they just want to know what's going to happen," VanderHoek says. "I think there's a comfort in knowing and being able to move forward with whatever plan they are going to be using. So my hope is that we can come up with that soon and get that information out."

When asked what she wants parents to know ahead of the new school year:

"I would want parents to know that I care deeply about their kids safety," says VanderHoek. "It's always been a top priority for me. I'm a parent too, and I get it. I understand that desire to get back to completely normal, regular school as we know it. But, the reality is its going to look a little bit different. I would ask for grace from our parents and to trust that we are going to do the right thing for them and for their kids."

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