Parent advocacy group ‘celebrates’ Ann Arbor School Board’s decision to offer hybrid learning

Ann Arbor Reasonable Return co-founder Jesse Kauffman holds a sign at a rally organized by the group in downtown Ann Arbor on Jan. 30, 2021. (Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Parent group Ann Arbor Reasonable Return released a statement on Wednesday afternoon in response to the Board of Education’s vote to offer a hybrid learning option.

“Today, we celebrate the vote by the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education to offer Hybrid/Hyflex learning,” reads the statement.

The grassroots organization founded by local parents, including medical professionals, has been advocating for the safe return to face-to-face learning.

Ann Arbor is the only district in Washtenaw County and one of few in the state that has remained virtual since the coronavirus pandemic began.

During a midday Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Superintendent Dr. Jeanice Kerr Swift announced that the reopening of school buildings will be contingent upon every AAPS educator receiving an invitation to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the Washtenaw County Health Department announced it will be vaccinating approximately 1,200 Ann Arbor-area teachers on Saturday, a development Swift said informed her decision to propose the return to hybrid learning.

“We are especially grateful for the work of Governor Whitmer, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Senator Jeff Irwin, State Representatives Felicia Brabec, Donna Lasinski, Ronnie Peterson, Yousef Rabhi, and our local medical community in increasing access to AAPS staff vaccines and the option to have onsite testing,” read the Ann Arbor Reasonable Return statement.

The parent group raised over $30,000 in less than 24 hours to form a PAC against AAPS after the School Board last week announced a sudden vote to stay virtual for the rest of the school year.

The group said that although Wednesday marks a significant step forward for the community, it is still committed to holding the AAPS School Board accountable “for their promises of giving families a choice in learning (in-person or virtual), an equitable option for all, and transparent communication that ensures all voices are truly heard.”

The Board of Education will resume its regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.