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School confessional: ‘Social distancing in a school setting is not possible'

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The following is a response to our call for people to share thoughts and concerns about Michigan schools returning to in-person learning this fall.


“I’m an elementary teacher. Social distancing in a school setting is not possible. Besides all the classroom models trying to explain how social distancing is possible, that doesn’t cover so many other things. Bathrooms? We don’t have class bathrooms. We have community bathrooms -- one girl and one boy bathroom for 12 classrooms. What about small group instruction, where a teacher and six students sit around a small table, where I personalize their instruction to their needs? How will electives work? Music? Art? Where there are a lot of supplies all shared with grades K-5? Gym? How are we going to social distance the staff? We have one small room for lunch, and we all have lunch at the same time. We also only have one very small, one-stall staff bathroom. What about the air systems where they circulate the dirty air all day? There is so much more to this than kids wearing masks. But in Michigan, K-5 students aren’t even required to wear them.”

-- Anonymous

View more: School Confessionals


School confessionals: Share your thoughts, concerns about return to in-person learning

Michigan school districts, colleges and universities are working to prepare for a return to in-person classes this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person classes were stopped in March when the virus swept through Michigan. On June 30, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer revealed her plan to help schools across the state return to in-person learning this fall. The “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap” is a 63-page document that outlines coronavirus (COVID-19) safety protocols for each phase of Whitmer’s reopening plan.

The governor’s order requires each school district to adopt a COVID-19 plan that lays out how it will protect students and educators across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. Whitmer’s roadmap is to be used as a guide.

This has everyone -- parents, teachers and students -- wondering whether this is a good idea, how well it can be accomplished, how safe everyone can be kept, and what exactly the best to do this will be.

Please share your thoughts and concerns about returning to in-person learning this fall -- we want to hear from you:

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