Whitmer urged schools to return to remote learning
The governor urged school districts to go virtual following spring break.
As COVID-19 cases began to rise again in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged school districts to go virtual for at least a week following spring break vacation.
It “would be prudent for schools to consider keeping students virtual for a week after spring break,” Whitmer said April 2, speaking on rising COVID-19 positivity rates.
Michigan schools returned to virtual learning again last fall amid rising COVID-19 cases and renewed statewide restrictions from Whitmer’s administration.
In the new year, Whitmer encouraged all school districts to bring back in-person learning by March 1. High schools were allowed to open earlier, in late December, with winter break giving schools a chance to prepare for returning to in-person teaching.
“Working families have been spread too thin over the past year, often taking on the roles of parent, teacher and employee all at the same time,” Whitmer said during a February press conference, encouraging more school districts to reopen.
“For young children, especially, face-to-face learning is critical. While some students and families have been successful in distanced learning, far too many have struggled,” she added.
Meanwhile, some Michigan students have yet to return to in-person learning. Notably, Ann Arbor Public Schools have twice delayed return dates for middle and high school students.
With the call for a return to virtual learning, some parents worry that such a temporary reversion will be extended indefinitely – as has occurred with several other earlier pandemic-related restrictions – halting the small degree of normality parents and children have gained, after months of grueling virtual learning.
“My two second graders are back in school under the hybrid model and my fifth grader is not,” said Christina Wall. “She’s been delayed now twice and Ann Arbor school board hasn’t released any concrete information for the reason for that delay.”
“There’s a big toll on mental health with kids enrolled in the district… Parents are frustrated,” said Pamela Stom, an Ann Arbor parent who opted her children out of the district last summer. “We know we are very fortunate that we can homeschool. At the same time, we’re grieving for what the community has lost. A lot of families don’t have that option or don’t feel like they can take that on.”whit
School districts should follow the science and continue in-person learning in classrooms across Michigan, bringing a greater sense of normality back into the lives of children who have especially suffered throughout the pandemic.