Case Study Text – Troy School District
October 26, 2020
To curb the aggressive spread of the COVID-19 virus, school districts across the nation shut down entirely during the middle of March 2020. The impromptu move to remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year proved to be a challenge for students, teachers, administrators, and parents alike. This challenge aside, when the virus continued to spread throughout the summer of 2020, the return to in-person learning in the fall of 2020 remained in question.
To solve this issue, school districts throughout the United States, along with the state and local governments, looked at varying approaches for returning students and staff back to schools in a safe manner. Like most, if not all, school districts across the country, the Troy School District, in Troy, Michigan, struggled with how to educate children safely yet effectively. They faced the difficult decision whether to provide in-person instruction versus remote learning which had proven to be such a challenge the previous Spring. What was certain was that providing safe in-person learning environments would require modifications to classrooms, hallways and shared spaces like cafeterias, gyms, and auditoriums to ensure social distancing and overall safety protocols.
The Troy School District ultimately decided to work towards getting students back into all schools, at minimum in a limited basis, by the middle of October 2020. As part of their plan, the district established a set of goals labeled “Return to Learn” revolving around three key objectives:
• Returning students to face to face instruction as soon as possible
• Prioritizing safety and sustainability
• Providing consistent yet flexible programming
In order to achieve these goals, Troy School District turned to iMBranded.
“Safety, reliability and flexibility were paramount in this process,” said Rick West, assistant superintendent, Business Services, Troy School District. “iMBranded’s ability to deliver in a short period of time and their experience in helping bring people back to offices and factories during the past several months was a key factor in us choosing them. We looked at all of their products and worked with their team to get them into the right places.”
In April 2020, iMBranded, a Pontiac, Michigan based millwork manufacturer and large format graphics printing company, developed a line of social distancing products called Safely6ft. This line of mobile and stationary acrylic dividers, along with social distancing floor, wall, window and table graphics, and hand sanitizer stations, were developed to get people back into offices, restaurants, schools, and other environments.
Troy Schools initially reached out to iMBranded in mid-August of 2020, to discuss outfitting each of the district’s 26 buildings with a full line of Safely6ft products within a very compressed timeline.
Key dates were:
• August 21 – Initial measuring in the schools
• August 26 – Proposal delivered
• September 1 – initial Board review
• September 15 – Board approval
• September 21 – Deliveries and installations begin
The project was broken down into three phases:
• Phase 1 – 250 custom acrylic shields for administrative use
• Phase 2 – Approximately 1,000 portable shields (2.1) and 650 mobile shields (2.2) for instructor use
• Phase 3 – Custom social distancing graphics
Upon Board approval, iMBranded was able to produce and deliver within the following timeline:
• Phase 1 – 6 business days
• Phase 2.1 – 3 business days
• Phase 2.2 – 6 weeks
• Phase 3 – 4 business days
Funding for the Troy School District project was covered by the CARES act.
Getting students back into schools was a significant challenge. Some districts still do not have students back fully.
“As a graduate of the Troy School District, this project had a personal connection,” said Jim Whitehead, founder and CEO of iMBranded. “Furthermore, we wanted this to serve as an example that we could get students, teachers and faculty members back into schools in a safe, effective manner.”
Students began returning to in-person learning in Troy during the week of October 4th.
“So far, we’ve found the products easy to use and the students have adapted well,” Dr. Rich Machesky, superintendent, Troy School District, said. In addition to the Troy School District, iMBranded saw success with its office, hospitality and restaurant programs and has fulfilled orders for educational institutions throughout the United States.