School confessional: ‘What happened this spring was not remote learning’

We want to hear from you

Stack of school books (Pixlr)

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.

“Do not confuse real virtual education/remote learning with what schools attempted to provide in April and May of 2020. High-quality virtual education requires a fully-developed online curriculum and teachers who are trained to use it. These programs exist; in the hands of certified, trained, actively-involved public school teachers (not for-profit companies), the curricula and educational programs can be used to provide effective education in a safe environment. What happened this spring was not remote learning; it was a collection of unplanned, unsupported attempts by well-meaning teachers to provide some semblance of continued education on short notice. Teachers scrambled to move their classroom-ready lessons into the online environment with very little training and almost no time to make modifications. I’m sure they did the best they could, but no one was ready for this to happen and the results were patchy. We still have time to go to an all-online plan and provide effective, engaging lessons if we are willing to put the money into purchasing curricula that have been developed specifically for online education and use planned professional development days to train teachers on best practices for virtual learning and to allow teachers to become familiar with the materials.”

-- 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: