AAPS explores reopening schools; U-M pauses 2nd vaccine phase; Harbaugh here to stay

An empty elementary classroom. (WJXT)

Happy Friday!

Ann Arbor Public Schools made a major announcement this week: The district aims to return to hybrid in-person learning sometime in early March. However -- and this is a big however -- schools reopening depends on “significant progress of vaccination of school personnel and a reduction in the overall level of community COVID infection,” according to the announcement.

The announcement came shortly after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer encouraged all public schools in Michigan to reopen by March 1. AAPS would open in stages starting with the youngest grades and children with special learning needs. Each consecutive week after that, more grades will be approved to return. While this is a lot to take in, parents should know that virtual learning will still be an option once in-person learning returns.

Have a great weekend.

- Meredith (@meredith_A4)

What’s been happening:

💉 Michigan Medicine announced on Monday it is pausing COVID-19 vaccines for the state’s Phase 1B group due to low supply. (A4)

🏈 Like it or not, Jim Harbaugh has extended his contract as U-M’s head football coach through the 2025 season. This past season was the first time in program history the Wolverines went without a win at Michigan Stadium. (A4)

📝 A petition is circling within the U-M community calling on Regent Ron Weiser to be recalled or to resign after he failed to denounce President Trump following last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol in Washington. (The Detroit News)

⚖ Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, who has introduced a sweeping series of policy reforms since taking office on Jan. 1, announced he will no longer seek charges in cases related to cannabis, psychedelic plants and consensual sex work. (A4)

🏠 Charles Reinhart, the founder of Reinhart Realtors, has passed away at the age of 96. (MLive)

🎙 These city of Ann Arbor offices will be closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year, U-M’s MLK Symposium has gone virtual and features two keynote speakers. Here’s how you can tune in. (A4)

🎻 UMS has canceled all of its in-person performances through the end of April due to the ongoing pandemic. Current ticketholders can choose to receive a refund, gift certificate or donate the purchase price of their ticket to UMS. (A4)

🔬 Hear from the U-M doctor who confirmed one of the first two positive COVID cases in Michigan on how researchers are working to identify the virus’ new variant. (Bridge Michigan)

🤝 Some businesses in Washtenaw County have seen positive changes in their culture during the pandemic due to factors like “extreme flexibility” with employees. (Concentrate)

Good to know:

🍕 It’s National Pizza Week! Sarah rounded up some of the best spots in town to grab a slice. And now all I want to do is eat pizza. (A4)

🧎 Ann Arbor Rec & Ed is offering a range of virtual fitness and enrichment classes so that community members can remain active and social while at home this winter. (A4)

🌷 See how Matthaei Botanical Gardens staff members recently planted 2,000 tulip bulbs using the “sneeze method.” Who even knew that was a thing? (Matthaei-Nichols)

💻 A University of Michigan freshman got help from some classmates to expand his business “Grandson on Call” that employs technicians to help older adults with technology. (A4)

Feature interview of the week:

“A lot of our business is students, so the students went home and the summer was pretty tough.”

- Matthew Hickey, owner of Campus Barber & Beauty Salon on William and Maynard

🗨 Have something to share? Write me anytime at mbruckner@wdiv.com.

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