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Lansing School District extends virtual learning through third week in January

Posted at 1:25 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 13:25:07-04

LANSING, Mich. — Thursday, the Lansing School District voted unanimously to extend virtual learning through the third week in January.

Lansing School Board President Gabrielle Lawrence said the decision was influenced by rising COVID-19 cases and feedback from parents.

Lawrence said, “We recognize clearly we’re not going to make everyone happy, we know that. Of course our preference as well is to have the kids in school in person, but as my collogue said last night this is the least bad option.”

The extension lines up with the last day in the semester. The board said it’s easiest to regroup when the semester is finished.

She said, “In the administrations eyes and the board eyes it was easy to say 'Ok that was the end of the first semester who knows what will happen after that, but at least people now know for that first semester they will be learning from home.”

The decision may seem rushed, but Lawrence said the board wants to give families enough notice to make accommodations for continued online learning, but some parents are struggling with district’s decision.

Charnell Ammon has five kids in the Lansing School District and she said her kids are frustrated with online learning. She wants them back in school.

Ammon said, “I don’t want my kids to get sick either, but their education is very important to me and to them. They should’ve given us parents and students more options than saying 'no we’re just going to continue doing virtual.”

Ammon said she wished the school district approved a hybrid plan.

“I think they should’ve given parents and students the option of doing even a hybrid. Couple of days at school, a couple of days virtual.”

Ammon said her youngest daughter has an IEP, individualized education program, and works with a speech pathologist, but she feels there is a disconnect. Ammon said her daughter can’t receive the material online the same way she can in a classroom.

She said, “When I get out of work I have to be the teacher and go online and try my hardest to show her this material and explain it to her. I’m not an educator and I struggle with it.”

However, the school district is re-evaluating their online schedule.

“Especially for younger kids, the screen time is a lot. We know that. We recognize that. So we are always working with the executive team to possibly tweak the schedule," said Lawrence.

But come January, Lawrence said she doesn’t know if they will continue with virtual learning or if they will turn to in-person learning.

She said, “If I had to give it a score on a one to 10 scale on how likely I think it is to return to in-person learning. I said I’m going to go down the middle and give it a five. I just don’t know.”

The district is monitoring rising COVID-19 cases and is hoping for a calm cold and flu season.

The board is required to meet once a month to discuss virtual and in-person plans.

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