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Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. I wrote last time how I was so relieved that my kids are grown and done with school. I can assume I would not have the patience or time to act as a homeschool teacher, yet if I was forced to, I’m sure we’d get through it.

 Our schools have taken all summer to work out a plan to bring our kids back into the classroom. Some have already started in person, while others remain virtual for now.

 Being open and forthcoming with their families will undoubtedly alleviate some of the fear that teachers, students and their families will feel. First day jitters are sure to be amplified this year.

 Lake Fenton Middle School Principal Dan Ferguson takes a very open approach to keeping his families and staff informed through his social media. Parents, students and staff are welcome to ask him questions, especially concerning what the school is doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He answers their questions for all to see. I follow Dan’s Facebook posts and I would feel confident with sending my kids back to the classroom.

 Lake Fenton High School has a new principal this year. Kate VanHouten has taken over the role from Christopher Belcher, who is assistant superintendent, under the leadership of Superintendent Julie Williams.

 Kate has spent nearly her entire career at Lake Fenton, starting as a student teacher at Torrey Hill in 1999. For the past four years, she has worked as the director of curriculum and instruction.

 She too is very open with providing information to her families. Anyone wanting to find out what Lake Fenton High School has done and is doing to provide a safe environment for learning through COVID-19 can watch the principal’s videos or read the live feed on the district’s website,

 I watched the principal’s video on YouTube today. This video takes you through the big green entrance doors of the high school and into the hallways. Visible are the social distancing tape marks, instructions for going up and down the central stairs, one central water bottle station and more. She goes over everything the returning student needs to see as they begin their new year in the classroom the week of Sept. 14. Knowing what to expect as they walk into the building will bring down the fear level — and hopefully some of the first-day jitters.

Sharon Stone is the editor of the Tri-County Times. To contact her, email her at or call her at (810) 433-6786.

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