Birchview Elementary is Starting Up Safe! 

We know this is a difficult time for students, parents, and educators, and we want to let you know that we are taking all possible steps to keep our students safe while providing an excellent educational experience.


Watch our video above to hear from Principal Matthew Byce on how things are going, what the school looks like, and what it'll be like for the students.


Below you will find information, such as photos, Frequently Asked Questions, and more!

Back to School:
What will it look like?

Busing/Drop Off

Students will be required to wear masks on the bus and as they enter the building. Hand sanitizing stations will be added to each bus. To reduce bus numbers we’re asking families to drop off as much as possible (Remember we have the Before the Bell program if you need to drop off earlier). Parents will not be allowed inside the building during drop off.


Meals will be pre-bagged/boxed to make the line run smoothly and to reduce touching and putting back food. Students will be socially distanced as much as possible, but can still chat with their peers as they eat. Students may remove masks as they eat, but will put their masks back on before leaving the table. Each grade level will have their own lunch period, and each class will sit together.


Teachers and students will wear masks, and we will reduce the use of shared materials. Students can still work in small groups and sit at carpet, but we will do our best to maintain some extra separation. Surfaces will be sanitized during lunch.


In phase 4, students will need to wear a mask during recess if two classes are outside at the same time. In phase 5, students will not need to wear a mask if two classes are outside at the same time. The playground will be separated into two zones, one zone for each class. (Note: Classroom teachers may take their students outside for an additional recess, and allow students to take masks off.)


Students will remain in the classroom until the bell rings, and will be dismissed by bus group and/or pick-up. Students will keep their masks on as they walk through the halls and onto the bus. If students are being picked up, they will keep their masks on until they are in the vehicle. Parents will not be allowed to gather inside the building during pick-up. (Note: We will still be offering the Beyond the Bell program after school.)

Important Information

Contact Information

It will be extremely important for us to have updated contact information in our systems. If your address, phone number, email address, etc. have changed in the past year, please double-check with the school that our records are accurate.

Hand Sanitizing Stations Outside Classrooms

A hand sanitizing station will be mounted outside of every classroom in our building. Staff and students will sanitize their hands before entering the classroom.

Health Screenings Before School

It is highly encouraged that families conduct a quick health screening on their kids before sending them to school. This can be done by asking them how they are feeling, checking for temperatures, and gauging whether they seem like their usual selves. Please do not send children to school if they are feeling sick.

Distant Learning Due to Closure Expectations

Birchview will move to distant learning if there is a positive case within our building, or if Governor Whitmer moves our region to Phase 1-3. In the event that we have to move to distant learning, our teachers will be using Google Classroom to deliver instruction. Please make sure you get your child’s login information from their teacher. If you have questions regarding internet connectivity or devices, please reach out to the school.

Masks Should Be Clean

Please make sure your child is coming to school with a clean mask every day. Mouths are incredibly dirty, and we want our students to remain as healthy as possible.

Ever-Changing Guidelines and Recommendations

The guidelines and recommendations that are being shared with us are continually changing as more data is collected. We will be working with the local health department to make sure that our policies/procedures are always up to date.


Will there be a daily schedule for my child to log in? (Online Learning)

No, this option is meant to meet the needs of the family. Your child may login and complete the coursework at their own pace.

If I choose online learning, can I change my mind?

If a student is enrolled in online learning through the Ishpeming Online Academy, they are committing to at least one full semester (January). If a student starts with in-person learning, they may choose to move to online learning for the remainder of the semester.

Will my child be taught by a teacher from Birchview? (Online Learning)

Every student enrolled in online learning through the Ishpeming Online Academy will be assigned a mentor. The mentor will be a teacher from our district, but the mentor will not be delivering instruction. The role of the mentor is to complete brief check-ins with students to make sure students are on task and understanding the concepts they are working through.

Will the content be the same as what is being taught in the Birchview classrooms?

No, the online learning through the Ishpeming Online Academy will not be exactly the same as what is taking place in the classrooms at Birchview. It may look similar, but the Online Academy is a completed through a software that comes pre-loaded with learning content for students to complete independently. All of the online content is aligned with the standards provided by the State of Michigan.

What if I have to drop something off during the school day for my child?

We are going to try to minimize the number of people who come into the building, so if you need to drop something off at the school, please come to the front doors, ring the buzzer, and someone will meet you at the door.

Can my child wear a plastic shield instead of a mask?

Unfortunately not. We’ve been informed that if someone wants to wear a plastic shield, they will still have to wear a mask under it. Approved Masks include: Washable cloth masks, neck gaiters, disposable masks, and homemade masks that cover the nose and mouth.

What if my child can’t wear a mask due to medical reasons?

If your child has medical reasons why they can’t wear a mask, there is a form that will need to be filled out by your child’s physician.

What if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

In the event of a positive case in the building, our building will move to distant learning for between 2-14 calendar days depending on guidance from the Health Department.

What if someone is showing symptoms of COVID-19

Staff or students showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent home. In order to return to school, they must stay home for ten days from when the symptoms started, and be fever free for 24 hours without any medication. Symptoms include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

When will my child be sent home?

If he/she reports close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. If he/she exhibits one of the following symptoms: Cough, shortness of breath, or fever/chills. If he/she exhibits two or more of the following symptoms: Fatigue, muscle/body aches, headache, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.



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