Teaching during coronavirus outbreak: What’s next for schools?

Gov. Whitmer cancels classes for next three weeks

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – School districts across Metro Detroit are trying to determine their next steps after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer canceled classes for the next three weeks.

Parents have a lot of questions. Will schools switch to online learning? Are they prepared to handle that change?

On Friday, Local 4 got an inside look as teachers and administrators tried to navigate this unprecedented problem.

The extended closure is something officials in the West Bloomfield School District saw coming. They’ve been preparing for days to teach students remotely. Friday was about the teachers finalizing how it will work next week.

“We can make this happen,” West Bloomfield Assistant Superintendent Deanna Barash said. “We use Google Classroom as our platform. We’ll do screen casts. We can really make this a reality for our teachers and families.”

Technically, they knew it wouldn’t be an issue. Friday was about creativity -- for each teacher to collaborate and figure out their lesson plans for the next few weeks. They’ll be working from their homes, as well.

“We’re creating a group of activities that students can access online so they can continue their education at home during this difficult time,” West Bloomfield social studies teacher Stephen Toy said.

West Bloomfield is a 1:1 district, meaning each student has a Chromebook. They will be expected to log online for 3 to 3.5 hours each day. Attendance will be taken and there will be a project to complete.

Since the district was proactive and had a plan, school officials believe they are prepared to continue teaching their students for however long the closure lasts.

Rochester school officials told Local 4 they also plan to teach remotely.

Birmingham school administrators emailed parents, telling them to expect some online learning. They will have more information Monday.

In a statement Friday, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the district will provide learning materials for all K-12 students. It will be a combination of hard copy packets and online researches. District officials will announce their plan shortly.

About the Authors: