Detroit charter school takes necessary precautions to keep students safe

Print More
The public K-8 charter school, Plymouth Educational Center, was founded in 1995 in Detroit, Michigan on the Vivian H. Ross Campus.

Destinee Shelly

The public K-8 charter school, Plymouth Educational Center, was founded in 1995 in Detroit, Michigan on the Vivian H. Ross Campus.

More information about Plymouth Educational Center can be found here.

New Protocols

With everyone happy to be back in the classrooms this year, Detroit Charter School, Plymouth Educational Center, also known as PEC, is investing in the building and creating new regulations to protect students, staff and teachers. 

PEC’s kindergarten teacher, Rosa Billingslea said, “Due to the virus, we distance the students as much as we can by keeping the six feet apart rule, we utilize the hand sanitizing stations, we wash our hands often and we clean the classrooms frequently.”

Besides investing in new hand sanitizing stations and air purifiers, the school went the extra mile to hire their own nurse, instead of going through an agency to guarantee the students are having the proper care.

“I started working as the school nurse here at Plymouth Educational Center this September,” said PEC’s school nurse, Madeline Roty. “It is my job to make sure students are getting their daily symptom screenings, temperature checks and keeping a negative covid test to stay in school.”

While following current protocols and procedures, the school hopes to soon have the opportunity to start weekly covid testing for all students. 

“A runny nose might’ve not been a big thing in the past, but now with the new protocols, when a student has one they are sent to me for a screening to make sure they have nothing more than just a cold,” said Roty. “We are hoping to do weekly covid testing for children who have parental consent.”

Adjusting to the “New Normal” 

After 18 months of home schooling during the pandemic, it was a huge adjustment for some of the students and teachers to return to in-person learning.

Being a kindergarten teacher at Plymouth Educational Center for 19 years, Rosa Billingslea is helping her current kindergarteners adjust to the differences, as well as herself. 

“I can definitely tell the difference between my past kindergarten classes and this one,” said Billingslea. “It’s harder for these new kindergarteners to get accumulated to the classroom setting because some had never been to school before and with the pandemic, they were at home with their families for a long time.”

While making these adjustments to continue in-person learning for the students, the staff are also thinking of many possible ways to keep students involved in after school activities.

Webb said, “We’re still navigating through a lot of things, such as school dances and games, but we’re definitely thinking of safe ways to keep our students involved in school activities.”

 Staff are thinking of different ways to group and break down the students into sections for all activities, events, classes and conferences. PEC requires everyone to follow the mask mandate and practice the social distancing mandate.

“We are looking into doing some basketball for the students,” said Webb. “That’s probably going to be the first thing we do to see how everything plays out.”

Despite having high cases of the virus in Detroit, only one covid case has been recorded in PEC this year, which makes the staff believe they are doing a great job following the protocols and keeping their students safe.