Back to School Information

Last Updated: 8/8/2020 5:02 PM

Return to Learn: Back to School Updates

Updated 08/06/20


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