School confessional: ‘Help schools support as many students as possible in-person’

We want to hear from you

School desks that are not going to be used are marked out to keep social distance inside a classroom at the secondary school Sevilla la Nueva in Sevilla la Nueva, Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. As cases continue to go up and fuel the debate over the return to schools in parents' group messaging chats, Spanish authorities last week issued revised guidelines for the reopening. They included making mandatory masks for students of age six or older, daily body temperature checks, hand-washing at least five times per day and frequent ventilation of classrooms. But many parents say that funding is insufficient to hire more teachers and that some schools just don't have additional space. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas) (Andrea Comas, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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.

“The word to me is as a guideline -- our school is requiring face masks but the space is not available to socially distance? How can this be safe?”

-- Anonymous

“For many students, being in school face-to-face is critical, especially students with learning or emotional challenges. At-home learning is very difficult for many students and families. We should do everything, as a community, to help schools support as many students as possible in-person. Holding classes outside for schools with available land is an approach that can help slow the spread of the virus. Schools should set up tents and use bails of straw spaced out for student desks. Here is a website that shows how to do this. We should be prepared that some schools will have outbreaks. Some schools may have to close down. This can be done on a school-by-school basis. Kids should be allowed to play sports outside as well. Sports are a critical part of physical and mental health.”

-- Kevin Czajkowski

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. Some school already have made the return.

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:


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.