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Mid Michigan schools districts altering return to learn plans as first days of school nears

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT
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MID MICHIGAN (WJRT) - The school year has already begun for some students, while many others will soon be starting. Many school districts have pushed back their start dates out of concerns for COVID-19, staffing issues and changes to online/hybrid/in person learning models.

The school year has already begun for Flint Community Schools with online learning underway as of August 5.

The plan now is to transition to face to face learning September 14, unless Governor Whitmer changes the guidance for schools.

“We know that a teacher standing in front of a student is the best, the best instructional situation,” said Flint Community Schools Superintendent Anita Steward in a recent interview.

Davison Community Schools is delaying their start date until September 8th. Around 1,100 students have opted for online learning. 21 K-6 teachers have been assigned to teach online, meaning the district needs more time to hire additional staff.

“We’re trying to make the best decisions based on the information we currently have. And for us, that means going to a post Labor Day start,” said Davison Community Schools Superintendent Kevin Brown.

Grand Blanc Community Schools is considering remote learning only to start the school year. New COVID-19 guidelines and learning disruptions have district officials concerned. The board of education will be meeting Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. to discuss and possibly vote on the matter.

A little further north, Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools will start the school year August 31. An online option is available for students, but it will be a much more robust and rigorous curriculum.

“There will never be anything that replaces brick and mortar learning.The only thing is is we have to return safely,” said biology teacher Frank Burger.

Bay City Public Schools just recently announced the district will begin with remote learning only. Their start date is set for September 1. The district, in a Facebook post said they will revisit the face-to-face option at an October 12 board meeting to either transition to hybrid or in-person learning.

“We’re constantly looking at the situation. We certainly wouldn’t want to do anything that’s going to put our students, our staff or anybody in our community at risk,” said Superintendent Dr. Stephen Bigelow earlier this year.

Saginaw Township Community Schools is postponing face to face learning by one month. Instead, a soft start date of October 6th and a tentative face to face start date of October 26th. Remote learning will begin Sep. 1. That decision was made by the District’s Board of Education Monday night.

“My instincts and the available information that we have at the time leads me to believe that in order to keep our kids and our staff safe, we need to delay that a month and just see where we’re at at the end of September,” said Superintendent Bruce Martin.

Just next door at Saginaw Public Schools, hybrid learning will begin August 31 as scheduled. An online only option is available for students, and necessary changes to the type of learning will be made based on Coronavirus risk level for the region.

Midland Public Schools will begin in person learning August 31; however, an online learning and hybrid option is available. But whatever choice is made will be a semester long commitment.

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