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Ann Arbor Public Schools plans online-only teaching in the fall

girl at a laptop
Annie Spratt

Officials with Ann Arbor Public Schools say it's not safe to return to in-person teaching in the fall.  

Local public health experts say the COVID-19 case rate in Washtenaw County is up markedly over the previous six weeks, and the Ann Arbor-Detroit area is considered medium to high risk for infections.

They also say the impact of University students returning to Ann Arbor in September is a big unknown.

District administrators are therefore recommending online-only instruction for all students. In order to reduce the potential downside of so much screen time, real-time classroom instruction will be held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Wednesdays devoted to an "Exploration Learning Day," where students can choose from a number of special programs that are personally appealing.

The district will also offer recreational programs on Saturday, some of which could be in person if physical distancing is possible.

Under the plan, parents could opt to switch their students to a hybrid, partial in-person model when it's considered safe.

Parents can also choose to keep their children enrolled in online teaching all year. Sixth through 12th graders also have the option of enrolling in the district's existing A2Virtual program, which is intended for those who prefer independent online learning at an individual pace.

The AAPS Board is expected to vote on the plan next week. Lansing School District and Waverly Community Schools also have announced an online-only schooling plan for the fall.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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