(WXYZ) — As teachers protest the reopening of schools for in-person learning, voicing safety concerns, schools across metro-Detroit have recently made the decision, or are about to. What will school look like this Fall?
Novi, Ferndale, and Dearborn all took up the topic Thursday.
As parents voice frustration about not knowing what is happening the superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools said, ”The reality is we want to take as much time as we can to make a well-informed plan because we also know that the situation is continuing to change in the community.”
The Dearborn Board of Education is scheduled to decide Monday between three recommended plans played out during a meeting Thursday. One is almost fully virtual, with learning labs and small groups for children who need extra support or have special needs. The other is hybrid for elementary school students and virtual learning for secondary students. The last option is hybrid for all grades.
“No matter what decision is made, there will people who are not pleased,” said Maleyko.
In Novi, the school board is expected to vote Thursday evening. Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews says he will recommend the district offer two options.
“An in-person hybrid option where students come half the time and be virtual half the time. And the other is the virtual option, where they go on-line full time,” said Dr. Matthews.
Dr. Matthews says the problem with a full-time program is that desks would be spaced about 3 feet apart. Social distancing is only possible at half capacity. The district offered summer school - with social distancing - and believes it can keep children safe.
“It was a different experience, but a safe experience. We are going to use the lessons we learned there and translate some of those lessons into what we are going to do this fall,” said Dr. Matthews.
These decisions are being made as school districts wait for the state legislature to answer important questions. Will online learning be fully funded? What will per-pupil funding be at for 20-21? Will last year’s enrollment be used to determine funding as more students are choosing alternatives such as homeschooling? The legislature was expected to address such issues, then sessions were canceled due to COVID-19. Sen. Tom Barrett tested positive for the virus recently
Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist called on the legislature to address these issues right away.
“As a parent, my first mind is toward the health and safety of our education professionals, students, and families. The legislature, their whole job is to figure out the purse strings. So they need to step up and do that,” said Gilchrist.
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