Southeast Michigan school districts debate start of the academic year amid the pandemic

Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 23:19:10-04

(WXYZ) — Four school districts, including Utica Public Schools, the state's second biggest school district, are deciding on back to school plans.

Several school boards have already voted to bring students back to the classroom under the governor's MI Safe Schools Roadmap, but some are going all virtual.

Some parents are still on the fence about sending their kids back to school. Several school districts have already approved back to school plans but the decisions are not always easy.

"I would like to send my children to school full time," one parent said. "I would feel more comfortable for him being fully online."

Utica, Brighton, South Lyon and Westland school boards decided on back to school plans. However, the Brighton School board meeting ended early because of zoom technical problems and will continue Tuesday. The district's superintendent addressing the issue in a letter posted to Twitter Monday evening. The districts have to decide on in-person learning, virtual lessons or a hybrid of both.

By late Monday, the Wayne-Westland school board voted 6-1 to start the school year all virtual for K-12 students, for at least the first 8 weeks. Utica school district voted for remote start to the school year until at least Oct. 30.

Under the MI Safe Schools Roadmap, the districts are required to follow safety protocols including using PPE, good hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, spacing in classrooms, symptom screening and more. Some parents say the plans are safe, but others say it’s not safe enough.

"Why such a rush for face to face," one concerned parent said. "Let’s start remote and later go face to face maybe next semester. Seems like such a political decision instead of common sense."

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.