Grades 4 through 12 will return to face-to-face learning at Ann Arbor Public Schools on May 3
ANN ARBOR, MI – Students of all grades in Ann Arbor public schools will have a chance to see the inside of a classroom before the end of the school year after the district decides to promote hybrid learning for grades 4 through 12.
The district education authority kicked off its plan to bring students back by 5-2 votes on Monday, May 3, two days a week on Wednesday April 28. Trustees Ernesto Querijero and Jeff Gaynor refused to return.
The plan allows students in grades 6 through 12 to attend class in person in the morning before studying from home from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
After children in grades 4 through 12 had not had face-to-face tuition since March 2020, board member Susan Baskett said it made sense to continue the district’s earlier commitment to allow students to return.
“Part of my frustration is that we know we didn’t all agree on every decision together, but we voted together and we have voted in the past to move that plan forward,” said Baskett.
“We’re moving this train here,” said Baskett. “… We cannot always know 100% everything in order to make a decision. It’s just not realistic. “
Querijero and Gaynor said they were against the plan and hybrid learning in the future, expressing that they did not believe that this was fair for all students – especially students attending remotely.
“I think it is wrong to act in a way that is knowingly unfair to me, where we are responsible and have put in a justice lens when we look at things,” said Querijero. “Are we actually going to practice and start doing justice, or are we just going to talk about it? I don’t see how anyone could argue that this is not an unfair endeavor in returning these students, which basically divides them into two cohorts of graded learning. “
Board chairman Bryan Johnson said the district’s plans to bring students into the classroom “sabotaged” the district’s original schedule and that Querijero has been reluctant to advance other parts of the district’s plan in recent months.
“While we can have disagreements as a board of directors and as a body, we should move forward in a consistent manner – not groupthink,” said Johnson. “There is a request that borders on sabotage or undermines what is happening.”
Gaynor said he was against hybrid learning and read extensive community contributions before expressing that distance learning children do not experience the same quality of education as students who attend in person.
“I think the equity has been lost,” said Gaynor. “My point is that the neediest are still not back in the classroom and that the classes that are back, who are at home, whether they are in person two days a week or at home, receive much less attention and help than before . “
After cases spiked in Michigan and Washtenaw Counties in early April, an 18-day decline in COVID-19 cases along with an increasing number of vaccinations gave the district enough confidence to offer hybrid learning before the end of the 2020-21 academic year . Superintendent Jeanice Swift explained.
AAPS began getting students back into face-to-face learning on March 25, before a surge in COVID-19 cases pushed the target date for in-person tuition for middle and high school students to April 26. This date has been moved back one more week to May 3rd on April 14th. Students have the option to continue virtual learning if they so choose.
The move is set in stone for students in grades 4 through 12 to learn face-to-face starting next week. Swift said the district will continue to focus on maintaining health and safety in the classroom.
“Our commitment has been from the start and it’s even more important over the past six weeks – we’ll be monitoring COVID cases every hour,” Swift said. “We will take action when a quarantine, break or time out is required for a classroom, grade, school or group of schools – we will do whatever is necessary. We haven’t come this far to endanger people at this point. “
Ann Arbor Public Schools are returning to the classroom for some classes
Return to the classroom for some AAPS students pushed back on May
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