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Some districts will offer on-site supervision for online school students – for a fee

Kids wearing masks at computers
Mediteraneo / Adobe Stock

Some school districts that are teaching online only are adding limited enrollment drop-off programs this fall to help ease the burden on working parents.

The students can be dropped off at school buildings, or in some cases, community centers, where they will be supervised by non-teaching staff as they attend online school, just like the students at home.

Fees typically range from about $30 to $60 a day. At Lake Orion Community Schools, the fee will be $40 a day for K-5 students.

Superintendent Benjamin Kirby says students will be spread out in open spaces in school buildings, in small groups that will be isolated from each other. 

"Ten students is all we'll be having in a pod," says Kirby. "So we'll be able to socially distance, keep our students at least six feet apart."

That degree of physical distancing is not possible, he says, in traditional in-person classes where there might be 20-30 children in a classroom. And based on the number of COVID-19 cases in his area, he says that would be too risky right now.

Kirby says the district is only breaking even on the program, and they'll try on an individual basis to help low income families who can't afford but need the service.

The Lansing School District is funding most of the cost of its program. It's partnering with community groups that will supervise students in their own buildings, rather than school buildings. Community sponsors will be able to charge families extra for before-and-after school childcare. 

Saline Area Schools says it will offset the cost for high-risk students in families that can't afford to pay. The district also says it will make paraprofessionals available for students whose IEPs (individualized education plans) include parapro services.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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