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Southeast Michigan school district announces plans for blended in-person and remote learning in fall

Empty classroom
Kevin Wong
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Classrooms could get crowded if cuts go through.

It won't be back to normal in the fall for West Bloomfield public school students and their families.

The School District has rolled out a plan for the upcoming school year. It is believed to be the first in the state to do so.

The plan, called the West Bloomfield Classroom to Cloud (C2C) Framework for Learning, was presented to the Board of Education on Monday and will be followed by two community presentations Thursday and Friday this week, as well as a survey of parents. That’s according to Daniel Durkin, spokesman for the District.

Under the plan, students will return to school only two days a week. Half the students will have in-person classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the other half attending classes on Thursdays and Fridays.

Students will engage in on-line learning on the three days they are not in the classroom.

"Wednesdays will be used to give each building a deep and thorough cleaning," said Durkin. "That way when the Thursday/Friday students arrive for their in-person instruction, they will be coming into a clean, safe learning environment."

Families can choose the option of remote learning only, with no face to face instruction.

“By reducing the number of students in any class, we can appropriately social distance in a classroom,” said West Bloomfield Superintendent Gerald Hill during an interview with Stateside. “We need to also look at our schedules throughout the day and make sure that we’re not having large groups of students moving about the building at the same time.”

Hill said that even so, it will not be possible to achieve perfect social distancing in a school environment.

Hill said he cannot wait for the state to issue recommendations for safely re-opening schools. Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of the Return to Learning Advisory Council for that purpose. But Hill said he needs to take steps now.

“First of all, our budgets are due for school districts on June 30,” said Hill. “We need to be planning right now so we can build that budget.”

Also, Hill said, families are facing uncertainty about what is happening in the fall, and they need to make plans too.

“So the earlier we can get a plan out and have dialogue with our parents and our community members and the students know what’s happening, the better prepared everyone can be,” said Hill. “From that dialogue, we can then adjust and modify our plan appropriately according to what works better for families in our school communities.”

To hear the full Stateside conversation with Hill, please listen to the audio file at the top of the page.

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Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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