Parents push for students to return to classrooms in the Ann Arbor school district

Posted at 9:09 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 22:12:46-05

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Parents and students within the Ann Arbor school district want to get back to the classroom. The school board hasn’t voted on a permanent plan for when students will be welcomed back to schools but parents and students say now is the time.

“If we were back in by March first I think it would be fantastic,” said Eli Hendricks a senior at Skyline High School. Hendricks says he and other students want to get back in the classroom.

“I’m talking about the same course load as last year and I’m probably staying up for an additional 2 or 3 hours a night to complete it all,” said Hendricks.

Eli says virtual learning hasn’t been easy, but he agreed with the Ann Arbor school board to begin the school year virtually with the high number of COVID cases. Now, Eli says it’s time for students to get back in the classroom and the science backs it up.

“Their less concerned about the science or the wellbeing of their students, because as much as I think COVID is a very dangerous threat and it should be taken very seriously, so is the mental health of all our students,” Hendricks said.

The board voted 5 to 2 on a resolution brought forward last Wednesday by trustee Susan Baskett that has caused all sorts of confusion. It states in part “ I move to redirect Dr. Swift to make a recommendation to modify our current return to school plan to allow instruction to remain virtual to the end of the school year with the exception of serving those with the greatest need (as clarified by our superintendent and school administrators) who would rerun to school in person by March 22, 2021.

Students held a protest over the weekend. Asking the school the board to allow students back into the classroom.

The school board later clarifying this vote saying in part “To be clear, we have not decided to remain in fully virtual instruction for the remainder of the year.”

We all thought this was going to be a short-term deal and now the evidence is clear that it is safe for them to return in person, that there aren’t those barriers holding them back,” said parent Christina Wall.

Parents and students say they understand the board wants to keep everyone safe, but if the CDC and Governor Whitmer say students can return to the classroom as long as they follow proper health guidelines, they don’t understand what the hold-up is.

“Nobody can really understand why this is an issue and why we're not returning,” Wall said.

“If the school board really wanted us to go back to school safely, I believe we have all of the tools to do that. Not only do I think we can do it well I think we’d do it just about better than anybody else,” Hendricks said.

The school board will have another meeting on Wednesday about the future of in-person and virtual learning. We will follow up and see what happens.

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