GROSSE POINTE, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Grosse Pointe Public School System plans to start the 2020-2021 school year with full remote learning.
GPPSS said there will be a gradual plan to bring everyone back and believes it is better, safer and in "everyone's best interest" to begin the school year in full remote learning.
The district plans to offer two options for students in the fall:
- OneGP Virtual is an option open to families that feel that a fully virtual option would be best for their child for at least a semester.
- GPPSS Traditional is an option that would pivot students between face-to-face, hybrid and 100% remote options as warranted by the current best thinking around student and staff safety.
The district said that although the year will begin in a 100 percent remote environment, students will transition into a hybrid or fully face-to-face environment as soon as it is safe to do so.
Dr. Jon Dean, Deputy Superintendent at Grosse Pointe Public Schools said in a virtual town hall they had been planning on in-person, face-to-face learning in the fall, but a recent increase in COVID19 cases in their socially distant summer programming raised some red flags.
In the last five weeks, one of the district's summer camps was closed when a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Then, a hockey player at South High School tested positive, which impacted the socially distant summer program there.
“In the last three days we had 4 positive cases at Grosse Pointe North for football. Even though our athletes are doing the right thing and our coaches, and they are in pods with the same ten kids every time they do their workout and their exercises,” says Dean.
“In the last 24 hours, we had a staff member test positive and we have had a contractor, one of the construction people working in our building, test positive for COVID,” says Dean.
“If we have seven or eight positive COVID cases with less than 5 percent of our students back, we think if we were to bring all of our students back on September 8, we would have more than that. And the cascade of quarantine that would come after that, would cause all of us to convert to remote learning,” says Dean.
If that happened, the district administration fears, the all-district remote learning would once again be last minute and not as well prepared as if the decision is made now.
“By making this decision now, our families and our staff have over five weeks to prepare for the start of school,” says Dean.
Families in the Grosse Pointe Schools District do still need to chose virtual or in-person learning next week. Choosing virtual will mean students will be learning virtually for the entire first semester. Choosing in-person learning means students will begin the school year learning virtually and then slowly transition to in person at some point when administrators feel they can do so safely.
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