District and Charter Schools Plan for Fall 2020
June 10, 2020
Schools continue to plan for Fall 2020, in the midst of the Covid19 Pandemic. While the state is moving into phase 5 of re-opening, we do not know what will happen over the summer and whether schools can open as they have in the past. To that end, schools are planning for a variety of scenarios, including opening with face to face instruction, a hybrid of some face to face and some online, and completely online. Each of these scenarios is being considered from an academic and health perspective and it is almost certain that students will have temperature checks, frequent opportunities to wash and sanitize their hands and practice social distancing. Older children may need to wear masks as well.
Governor Whitmer has appointed a Return to School Committee that is meeting to provide specific guidelines for schools to resume in the Fall. Without specific guidelines right now, schools are using information from the CDC, other states and countries that have already established their guidelines and best practices suggested by health and education experts to develop draft plans. Once the State issues the official guidelines, schools will adapt their plans to fit, but those guidelines are not expected to be vastly different from those that schools are considering now.
DPSCD issued a plan on June 5 that includes class sizes of 20 or less, using cafeterias and auditoriums as classrooms, focused schedules that include primarily core classes, PPE for all students and teachers and a shortened school day. The complete draft plan can be accessed here. This plan was created by using information from a variety of sources, many of which will also be considered by the Return to School Committee. While this plan is far from complete, it gives parents an idea of how DPSCD is considering opening in the fall and how they are maximizing their resources to achieve these goals. DPSCD received 85 Million dollars in Federal Cares Funds and also received a 65 Million dollar grant to purchase technology for all students, giving them resources to put towards their plans. DPSCD will also be hosting sessions to get feedback from a variety of stakeholders. Please see here for information about registering and providing feedback via a survey if you are unable to attend the sessions.
Charter schools in Detroit are considering similar options and many are conducting meetings and surveys with parents to determine needs. Some have considered reducing class sizes to allow for more face-to-face instruction and some are considering parents a choice about how many days students are in the school building. Others are investing in 1:1 laptop programs to ensure that students have access to technology. Still others are looking at a hybrid schedule that has students in school on certain days and learning remotely on other days. All schools are also considering the health and safety precautions that need to be taken and are planning to provide PPE to students and teachers. Because charter schools are typically smaller in size and are independently operated, each school is creating its own personalized plan and engaging its parent and teacher community in dialogue through their own means of communication.
All schools are taking into account that they must be flexible and may need to pivot to fully online learning if we experience another pandemic that forces another prolonged school closure. Schools are using the experiences of the past 3 months as the foundation on which to build future plans, knowing that they must be prepared to ensure that student learning continues.
Check out DPSCD and Charter School Leaders talking about re-opening on June 4, 2020 here