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Ann Arbor Public Schools shares details for new virtual school plan

Students at Driggers Elementary School attend a class in-person as they interact with classmates virtually, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in San Antonio. After seeing two academic years thrown off course by the pandemic, school leaders around the country are planning for the possibility of more distance learning next fall at the start of yet another school year. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Public Schools will be offering synchronous live and asynchronous independent virtual learning options for students in grades K-5 for the 2021-22 school year, in addition to full-time in-person instruction at all AAPS campuses.

Families who live within the AAPS attendance area can opt into the virtual programs. Families who live outside the district and are interested in enrolling their students in the virtual programs may do so via the schools of choice option through June 30.

The new virtual schooling option, A2 Virtual Village, exists for families who are hesitant to return to in-person instruction before a COVID-19 vaccine is available for children under the age of 12.

Some families also found that the virtual learning models were a better fit for their children over the past school year, according to the district.

The asynchronous A2 Virtual Elementary Learning allows students and families to learn during times that work best for them and at their own pace. In the fall, AAPS will also offer A2 Live Online for families who want their children learning in real-time with their peers who are physically in the classroom.

“We know that we want our students, whether they are with us in person or are a part of an online learning community, to feel that they are part of our school community; they are connected,” A2 Virtual Village Principal Robin Kocher said in a release.

Kocher said the A2 Live Online schedule is similar to the in-person instruction schedule and includes time away from screens.

“It has literacy, math, science and social studies,” Kocher said in a release. “We have built in specials and, of course, the important morning meeting and closing circle time that’s part of the community building. But you will also notice an intervention and enrichment block when we are focused on deepening instruction.

“It is a time when students who need some additional support may get it, so they are not missing new or critical work, or this might be a time for children to do enrichment extension and explore work on passion projects.”

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.