COVID-19 Back to School Information

Last Updated: 6/23/2021 1:27 AM

Return to Learn: Back to School Updates

Updated 10/19/20



*NEW* Flex Friday Details for In-person Students

We are excited to have students back on campus! Our first Flex Friday will be this week, 10/23. ALL STUDENTS should fill out the Google Form to sign up for the choice of learning that day, in-person or remote. The Form can be found in an assignment in CAP Google Classrooms and should be submitted by 8am Thursday, October 22. Please speak with your student and determine the best choice for your family, then have them fill out the Form.

More details are available here: Flex Friday Information


Order Lunch through Infinite Campus

This year, we are asking that elementary students who would like a school breakfast or lunch pre-order their choices through Infinite Campus.  Middle and high school students do not need to pre-order breakfast but will need to pre-order their lunches. If you have a remote student who would like a school breakfast and lunch please choose the Remote Meals option to pre-order. Pre-ordering is done through each individual student's account.  We are working with Infinite Campus for parents to also have the ability to order through parent accounts but that feature is not currently an option.

Orders must be placed by the end of the day on Wednesdays for the following week.

To place an order your student will log into Infinite Campus. On the left hand side they will see ‘School Store’.  Select the day of the week the student is ordering for and then the student will be brought to a drop down menu that allows the student to make their food/drink choices. Once the meal choices have been made and added to the cart the student will click on the ‘My Cart’ icon and if the order is correct they can click on the ‘Submit’ button. 


2020-2021 Calendar Changes to Announce    

Black River Families,

It’s not ideal to learn about calendar changes during an already chaotic time.  We have decided that it is in the best interest of students to make all scheduled half days (with the exception of scheduled exam days) remote half days.    We appreciate your grace and flexibility as we navigate an unusual school year.  

The Master Calendar has been updated to reflect these changes but highlights are also included below.

The following days for the fall and spring semesters will now be remote half days:

Thursday, October 29, 2020
6-12 students will have scheduled live meets according to this schedule:

8:00am – D block

9:00am – E block

10:00am – F block

K-5 students will attend a live meeting according to their homeroom teacher’s preference sometime between 8:00-11:00am.

Friday, October 30, 2020
6-12 students will have a scheduled live meet with their CAP teacher sometime between 8:00-11:00am.  Check in with your CAP teacher if you are unsure of your scheduled time.

K-5 students will attend a live meeting according to their homeroom teacher’s preference sometime between 8:00-11:00am.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020
6-12 students will have scheduled live meets according to this schedule:

8:00am – D block

9:00am – E block

10:00am – F block

K-5 students will attend a live meeting according to their homeroom teacher’s preference sometime between 8:00-11:00am.

Thursday, March 11, 2021
6-12 students will have scheduled live meets according to this schedule:

8:00am – D block

9:00am – E block

10:00am – F block

K-5 students will attend a live meeting according to their homeroom teacher’s preference.

Friday, March 12, 2021
6-12 students will have a scheduled live meet with their CAP teacher sometime between 8:00-11:00am.  Check in with your CAP teacher if you are unsure of your scheduled time.

K-5 students will attend a live meeting according to their homeroom teacher’s preference sometime between 8:00-11:00am.  

Exam Half Days (12/16, 12/17, 12/18), 5/5, 5/6, 5/7):

More information will be released as discussion takes place regarding remote vs. in person exams.  

Senior Capstone Showcase for May 20, 2021:
The Senior Showcase has been cancelled. It is still the school’s hope to have a modified Senior Capstone experience.  As details are determined, they will be shared with seniors and their families.

Project Term Open House:
Although it is our hope that we will be able to offer some sort of Project Term experience, it is not likely that it will mimic a traditional Project Term from pre-Covid school years.  The Project Term Open House is cancelled on Thursday, June 3, 2021.  More details will be announced as decisions are finalized.

End of Year Dates:
If Project Term is changed or shortened, the traditional school year will be extended and final exams may move to the last week of school.  More details will be announced as decisions are finalized.

12th Grade Graduation:
Due to the uncertainty of the current climate, details regarding 12th grade graduation will be shared as they become available.


Family Update - Rat Return Information for In-person Learning!

Dear Black River Families,

We are so excited to have the students that opted for in-person back on campus on October 19 and look forward to continuing to work with our remote students.

This year, back-to-school has a whole new meaning.  Uncertainty can be difficult as we help students navigate their return to the classroom, surrounded by their peers and supportive staff, in the safest way possible. Our sixty-member, Operation Rat return task force worked diligently over the past five months to  create a detailed process to welcome our students while prioritizing health and safety.  We have discussed every minute of the school day and have planned for several scenarios to align with our Governor's Safe School Start Phases.

This update includes an incredible amount of information for all families in all grades K-12.  Please take time to read all of the information provided in the links for your students whether they are in elementary school or in the middle and high school.

Thank you for your great support of our incredible school.

Please click the link below:

Elementary Rat Return Information for In-person Learning

Middle/High School Rat Return Information for In-person Learning

Ready for School


Hello BR Parents,

Today is the last day to complete the October 19th Learning Preference Survey.  If you have not done so already, please take a moment to fill it out.  The data gathered from this survey will directly affect the decisions we will need to make for our remote and in-person learning options.  Thank you for your help.
Information to help you make your decision:


Thank you!


Alternate MS/HS Material Pick Up Day, Grades 6-12 - August 31, 2020

Parents, good news! 

If you cannot make Friday's alphabetical order pick up, we have a back up plan.  Additionally, you no longer have to bring your child's printed schedule to pick up on August 28 or on August 31st. 

The additional date is  Monday August 31th, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and then from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  

This will also be in the lyceum, same format.  Go Rats!

1st-5th Grade Materials Exchange this FRIDAY

We hope that you are able to make it to the next elementary materials pickup which will take place this Friday, August 28th, from 12:00pm-2:00pm.  The pickup will run exactly like it did last week behind the elementary school on the carline drive.

What we need from you...please make sure that you bring all of the completed assessments that were sent home last week and make sure that each assessment has your child's name and teacher's name on the front.

Lower Elementary: spelling, math, and reading
Upper Elementary: reading and math

Thank you for ALL of your help with facilitating your child's remote learning experience.  We know that it isn't easy and we appreciate your time and dedication to your child's education.


Remote Learning Attendance Information

Good Day families and students -

There has been a lot in the works to start the year and attendance has been another part of returning to remote BR.  Luckily Infinite Campus (IC) has a built in option for us now which we will be utilizing this year.  Below are two, three-minute long videos from IC which show the student and parent perspectives of something IC calls blended learning.  My apologies, they are training videos provided by Infinite Campus, so they are a bit dull.  Please note as you watch the videos, we will be starting the year at least with the following options:

  • Elementary parents/guardians will be checking in their students.

  • MS/HS students will be expected to take on the responsibility of checking themselves in - perhaps with a friendly reminder at home when necessary.

  • All students will only be required to check in, or be checked in, once per day.

Student Video 

Parent Video

  • Parents/guardians without an IC account should complete this form or be in contact with the office with questions regarding your account.

  • Students without an IC account or with a forgotten password need to contact Mr. Fisher at

Finally, to start the year, teachers and staff will be able to help support the attendance process, so please don't stress if you forget or don't have access to IC yet.  This is an learning experience for all of us starting a new school year with new procedures in place so we are more than willing to help get everyone comfortably started.


Update from the Technology Department - August 21, 2020

Good Day BR Families,

As many of you have noticed, and you are lucky if you have not, we are experiencing some off-campus filtering issues.  Unfortunately it is not something that was seen all summer, so it caught us, the OAISD and iBoss themselves off-guard yesterday.  Know that we are working through the weekend to try to resolve it for the start of school Monday.

As it stands,  many of you have reached out expressing issues with either an authentication pop-up that gets in the way or a page is not available screen.  First off my group apology for not getting back to all of you yet.  Secondly, the problems seem to be inconsistent and sporadic - the easiest ones to diagnose of course. So what one user sees is not true about another.
In good news, we have identified a few work-arounds for the time being.  It seems that if you go to a domain site and wait, you can get there after 5-10 minutes and then you are free to roam. " What do I mean by that?", you ask.

Example 1: On a test account I tried going to  I got the page is unavailable and I just left it sit for about 10 minutes before it randomly loaded.  From there, I was able to check scores and articles that were all under the domain with no delay.

Example 2: After leaving ESPN, I tried and had the same no page error to start. After 5 minutes I refreshed the page and it loaded.  Again, it was at the top, domain level so I was then able to check out articles and everything without delays.

What this means for you.  For the time being, log into the Chromebook and open a few different tabs. One for Infinite Campus.  One for Gmail. One for Classroom (this should fall under Google, but let's be safe)  Leave the sites to sit for 5-10 minutes and then refresh.  With any luck they will all load and you will be able to work in those sites, at least, without delay.

We know that this is not a long-term fix, but we are hoping that it is a temporary work-around that gets us started Monday at least.  If some of you could try this today/tonight yet and reply with your results, that would help us as we continue to diagnose and ultimately solve the issue.

Thank-you for your continued patience.

Black River Tech


MS/HS Students - Time to Connect!

Let's get ready to roll - Remote style! Please have your MS/HS students check their school email (last name, first initial today! Their teachers will send invites to Google classroom, students should accept those invites and get on their Google classroom as soon as possible. It will be through Google classroom that students will find class announcements and assignments. Their Google calendar will show them when the live Meets will be happening for each class. And don't forget, the Remote Learning tab on the school website has additional information and resources, including tutorials for using Google classroom for students and parents.

Middle/High School Materials Pick-up

Hello Black River Community!

We are excited to see teachers connecting with students through their Black River email accounts and already finding time to say hello in Google Meet. If your student is having trouble accessing their account. Please contact A material pick-up has been planned for Friday, August 28, 2020 by John Donnelly, Dean of Students. If you have questions or need to make other arrangements, email

Students/Parents will pick up materials from the Lyceum starting at 9:00am by LAST name.

Cars will drive up similar to material drop off- keeping in mind, this process will take a little longer than drop off.

We will have a great group of teachers retrieving books/materials for you student(s).  Please make sure to bring a printed copy of your child's schedule with you, as this will greatly help with the process

A-E    9:00-10:00am

F-J    10:00-11:00am 

K-O   11:00-12:00pm 

P-T    12:00-1:00pm

U-Z    1:00-2:00pm


Elementary Student Materials and Chromebook Pick-up

Attention Elementary Parents!

At Black River Montessori Elementary, we want to make sure that you have everything you need to be successful in remote learning.

This Friday (August 21st) from 12:00pm-2:00pm, we will be distributing Chromebooks and other student materials.  

Please see the map for more information.  If you cannot make it to the pickup, we will work with you to make sure that your child receives what he or she needs for learning at home.


FREE Curbside Meal Pickup for ALL Black River Students During Remote Learning

We have exciting news to share with you regarding the school meal service being provided for your child!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced schools will be able to serve free meals to all children through December 31, 2020.  This unprecedented move will help ensure – no matter what the situation is on-the-ground – children have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy, and nutritious food. This will ensure meals are reaching all children so they are fed and ready to learn, even in new and ever-changing learning environments.

Effective Tuesday, September 8, 2020 your child can receive a free breakfasts and free lunches at school.

Five (5) free breakfasts and five (5) free lunches will be available each week for pick up in the Lyceum parking lot on Mondays from 10am-12pm. (Pick up the week of Labor Day will be held on Tuesday, September 8th)

If you know you will definitely be participating please email Michelle Byrne at at some point the week before. The kitchen will prepare extra meals for those that do not decide in advance but we would love to plan ahead.

We hope this news helps all Black River families.

We look forward to serving your children!


A Message from Jim Levering, Elementary Montessori Building Administrator - August 17, 2020

Dear Black River Elementary Families,

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year and thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncertain times.  We miss seeing your kids every day and cannot wait until we can safely return to school.  Whether you initially chose remote learning for your family or are getting comfortable with the idea now, we are excited to have you join us!  Our BR Remote Instruction Team has worked hard throughout the summer to create something unique for your child that is academically rich and full of engaging learning opportunities.

Read More


A Message from Shannon Brunink, Head of School - August 17, 2020

Dear Black River Families,

In an effort to be as transparent as possible about the decision to go remote, we wanted to share that the new developments have to do with a very recent loss of several staff members due to their and their family's health concerns.  We didn’t want staff with health concerns to feel that they had to choose between their job and their health. Our staff is what makes us special, and it’s that awesome staff that allows us to be the only school offering its own curriculum. If we forced staff to choose between their job and their health, one could understand many choosing their health.  

It was the decision that maintaining our current staff, who know our students, was the best way to provide instruction as we start the school year. 

We know this is difficult. Thank you for your understanding.

Shannon Brunink, Head of School


Black River Families,

Please see this important letter from our Head of School and our Board President.  We know this will be a difficult letter to read. During this time, we ask for your patience as many more details about the start of the school year will be released next week. Our Black River faculty and staff will be here to help all of our students and families during this time of change.

Letter from Shannon Brunink, Head of School


Technology Survey

Thank you to all the families who have already completed the '20 Tech Survey. There has been a lot of planning going into the fall, including technology and your responses will help us prepare technologically, regardless of whether your student(s) will be joining us in person or virtually in a couple of weeks. We look forward to supporting all of our students this fall and doing everything we can to assure they stay as safe as possible and have the technology access they need for their learning.

If you have not yet, please take a moment to complete the appropriate survey(s) below once per student.

K-5 Face-to-face

K-12 Remote Learning

6-12 Face-to-face



BRPS Weekly Family Update - August 6, 2020

Dear Families,

We were very excited to find out that our hard work has paid off with GVSU accepting our Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.  With that plan approved by GVSU, our BR Board of Trustees then accepted our plan at a special board meeting last night, allowing us to move forward with much more information for all of our families.

For those of you who were unable to attend the virtual board meeting, our committees from Operation Rat Return gave detailed presentations regarding our mental health and instructional plans for all students as well as how we will implement all of the facility requirements from the Michigan Return to School Roadmap for our students and staff.  The teams laid out their well-coordinated plan that was facilitated by our Communications team: the work is impressive and truly Black River!

While you already know that our students have the choice of being here at school five days per week or of selecting the remote learning option, the other new information will be coming to all families very soon.  Upcoming updates will include very specific information regarding what instruction will look like, including details about both the remote and in-person formats and how our school day hours will be adjusted to help everyone. It is truly an amazing plan that allows our kids to experience BR in new and exciting ways!

Today we are including a link to a list of Frequently Asked Questions that we believe will help our families envision what their students' school day will look like this fall. It includes helpful information and BR staff members who are ready to answer to your questions. The FAQ link is here

Thank you to all who helped develop this robust new chapter for BR!



Return to Learn FAQ


BRPS Weekly Family Update - July 30, 2020

Dear BR Families,

The planning for the upcoming school year is going very well, and we have some updates to share with you today including new information for all families from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  We are submitting our Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan to GVSU for their input and approval on Monday, August 3rd, and our BRPS Board will be asked to approve that plan on behalf of the school very soon as well.  Today you are receiving the BRPS Learning Option Summary about what school will look like at BR for both our in-person and remote instruction offerings. You will also have a link to the Fall Learning Option Survey and will be asked to consider carefully and choose a learning option that best suits your student. This survey is due on Wednesday, August 5, 2020. More specific details about our changes to schedules etc. will also be released very soon.

In this update, I would like to highlight a couple important points so that you will be prepared to consider your options for on-campus learning or remote instruction for this upcoming school year.  

The first is that Black River will implement EVERY required element of the MI Safe Schools: Return to School Roadmap to be as safe as we possibly can be for our students, families, and staff.  Health and safety is the first priority so that real learning can take place with your children.

The second point for you to understand is that we are working hard to implement the "Strongly Recommended" items in the roadmap when they are feasible.  For example, we have students and staff members who have compromised immunity due to medical issues. For this reason, all students (K-12) and staff will be wearing face masks here at school to protect those in our community who are most vulnerable.  This is a feasible opportunity for us to be as safe as possible.

One strongly recommended protocol in the Roadmap is also spacing desks six feet apart in our classrooms.  While we have worked hard to plan for distancing our students and staff as much as possible, we cannot guarantee six-feet spacing in our buildings.  We simply do not have the square footage or the furnishings that would make this feasible for us.

I bring this to your attention so there is total transparency about what is and is not possible.  We want all of our families to make the best decision for their situation, and we are providing a new and robust remote learning option for those who would opt for that. Please note, this is not the remote learning experience we provided during the state-mandated closure beginning in March of last school year. The closure of our schools was unprecedented, with different state-led requirements, which were not meant to replace our normal school instruction. In the Operation Rat Return Parent Survey, we heard clearly that students and parents/learning facilitators need more structure and guidelines, robust learning and engagement from our teachers, and support at home, from technology to wellness. Our Operation Rat Return instruction and technology task force team has been meeting since June to ensure staff and learning facilitators at home will have the support needed to make our remote learning program a great Black River opportunity.

Thank you for going on this new journey with us!

Shannon Brunink, Head of School


BRPS Learning Options Summary - Printable Version 

BRPS Learning Option Survey - Here!

BRPS Elementary Montessori Remote Learning QR Code Link 


BRPS Learning Options Summary



Return to School Timeline


BRPS Weekly Family Update - July 23, 2020

Greetings Black River families,

We are entering the home stretch of summer and are eagerly awaiting the return of our Black River students, whether remotely or in-person.  The sentiments of the faculty and staff throughout this closure have been that...we miss our kids dearly!  It has been very difficult to be separated from them for so long.  The students are what, as they say in the elementary school, ‘keep our buckets filled.’  

In anticipation of the return of students in the fall, the Operation Rat Return committees are in the final stages of planning and will be completing the MI Safe Schools Preparedness Plan by early next week.  Black River families can expect another survey to come out very soon.  This survey will help us plan for how many students will physically be returning to school and how many are opting for a remote learning plan. 

One aspect of returning to school next month will be the requirement of students and faculty to wear facemasks to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus through the air.  This practice, along with other safety measures, will help to keep our kids safe and healthy.  Please take a moment to review and practice these tips (taken from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital) with your children to help build confidence and stamina when wearing a mask.

COVID-19: Tips to Help Kids Wear Facemasks

There will be information about the specifics of our Operation Rat Return: Return to School Plan very soon.  Thank you for your patience.  We are all working tirelessly to make sure that your children will still be receiving the same high-caliber educational experience in a safe and welcoming environment.  

Stay safe and healthy, and we’ll see you all soon.


BRPS Family Update Archive


Stay Informed


Operation Rat Return: Three Scenario Summary

Moving Forward

See the Michigan Safe Schools Roadmap for more information on school opening scenarios. If schools in Michigan are moved back to Phase 1, 2 or 3 because of rising cases of COVID-19, in-person instruction will not be allowed and all instruction must be held remotely.

491 Columbia Avenue
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: (616) 355-0055

Fax: (616) 355-0057