NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — Students in the Novi School District are preparing to return to the classroom, but only about half the grade levels. It's part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's push for all districts to resume in-person learning by March 1.
In Novi, K-6 students will be back in the classroom 5 days a week starting Monday, but grades 7-12 have a greater challenge and may start in-person next Monday.
"There are several benefits of in-person learning, one is teachers can see students, they can look them in the eye and get a sense of if they're learning or not. It's also important for students to be around other students. Learning is a collaborative effort," Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews said.
Matthews said the district has spent the last two and a half weeks preparing classrooms, creating as much space as possible to keep students safe from COVID-19.
According to the district, 63 positive cases have been linked to Novi schools this year. The cases are no longer active.
Matthews said it's easier to allow K-6 students back since they spend most of their time in one place.
"Whereas with 7-12 students, because of the schedule with middle school and high school, those students will have 6 different classes during the day," he said. "They'll be in the hallway with more students. They'll go to lunch with students from different classrooms."
So, the district is looking for COVID-19 numbers to reduce even further over the next week before bringing older students back.
"We're very aware that the COVID numbers have decreased rather dramatically in the last several weeks. and so we feel pretty confident as our students come back, but we still recognize that we need to take safety precautions," he said.
Matthews said extra-curricular activities and the social interaction among students and teachers is that extra benefit you can't get with virtual learning.