Grosse Pointe Public Schools to begin fully online this fall due to pandemic

The district will transition to in-person learning when safe amid coronavirus pandemic

A photo of Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms. (Katherine Pertuso)

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – Another Michigan school district has decided to begin the upcoming school year entirely online amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent Gary Niehaus announced Friday that the district will start the school year with remote learning only, with a plan to gradually reintroduce students to in-person learning.

Officials say a task force developed plans for in-person learning, virtual learning and a hybrid of both options -- which has been required by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer under her guidelines for reopening schools amid the pandemic. However, the district feels it is “better, safer and in everyone’s best interest” to begin the school year fully online, even though they are currently allowed to follow a hybrid learning model.

Niehaus said Friday that the district’s intention is to transition to a hybrid or traditional in-person learning model, but only once it is safe to do so amid the pandemic.

In the meantime, students can expect to begin the school year on September 8 with both synchronous and asynchronous online instruction through the district’s OneGP Virtual program.

Officials say a version of in-person instruction will be available soon after the school year begins for at-risk students, young students, students in special education programs and those requiring the most support.

As the district moves to begin the school year fully online, officials say staff will still have access to child care, school buildings and learning materials. Staff will also receive additional training for remote learning.

“By making this decision now, our dedicated staff can work to ensure that the 100% remote learning opportunity we provide our students in GPPSS Traditional and One GP Virtual will move from surviving the emergency experience they had in the spring, to thriving this fall,” Niehaus said in the announcement. “The experience our students have remotely this fall will be consistent, robust and interactive. With over a month of planning time left before September 8, I am confident that our teachers and staff will be ready to provide both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for our students starting from the first day of school.”

The district previously announced that students would have the option to start the school year fully online or with a hybrid-learning option consisting of both in-person and virtual instruction.

This new plan must still be approved by the board of education.

See what other Michigan K-12 school districts have planned for the fall amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic here.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.