What Going Back to School Might Look Like This Fall

Wondering what the heck going back to school will look like this year? Several southeast Michigan schools have draft plans already in place. Here's a breakdown of those plans.

Student in a mask holding a binder that says, back to school

Kids can go back to their classrooms this fall if coronavirus cases hold steady or numbers continue to improve, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says.

But restoring everything exactly as it was when students left in mid-March is highly unlikely. Plus, Whitmer wants federal support “if we’re going to get this right for our kids,” she said in her recent announcement.

Whitmer released what she’s calling “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” full of recommendations on strict school safety standards on June 30 — you can read all about it here.

While some schools were waiting for the governor’s plan before announcing their own school plans, a few have already announced plans that they say put student and staff safety first.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

School leaders in Ann Arbor have a plan they are calling a draft AAPS Reimagine Learning Framework that includes in-person one or two days per week and virtual learning on other days or it could be entirely virtual. At this point, the in-person student attendance could range from 25% to 50% depending on state guidance.

In a letter to the community, AAPS also said 100% e-learning will be available at parent request for all students throughout the 2020-21 year.

Berkley School District

Berkley Schools is examining several options including 100% in person, 100% online and a blend of traditional and online school, which could include staggered start times and a few days in school and a few days at home.

The district also is contemplating offering its parents choices, according to a letter to parents from Superintendent Dennis McDavid.

Detroit Public Schools Community District

Detroit’s plan calls for school starting Sept. 8, with a shortened school day to six hours, daily screenings of students for COVID-19 symptoms, all grades wearing masks and limits on the number of students — up to 20 students in a room at a time – plus the need to add classrooms in the auditoriums and cafeterias to accommodate smaller class sizes.

It also says online instruction will expand as the majority of families surveyed said they favored a mix of online and in-person learning.

Oakland County School District

Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland County Schools superintendent, plans for school to reopen in the fall.

In a unique move, the district plans to spend about $2 million to hire 68 new school nurses for 90 days this fall to keep everyone healthy and put parents’ mind at ease.

West Bloomfield Township Schools

When it conducted a survey in late May, about 30% of parents said they want remote-only learning come fall. West Bloomfield’s blended learning plan, called Classroom to Cloud, has three options.

In one, it has half of the students attending in person and half learning online on alternating days, with Wednesdays planned as remote learning for all. A second option is 100 % online for families who want that. A third option is all students learning online.

We will continue to update this story as news develops and as the governor releases her school recommendations.

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