While the Lansing School District Parent Community Advisory Council normally meets over dinners, this year they met over Zoom.
On Sept. 22, the council met virtually to discuss the ways this school year has been different from its predecessors.
The meeting revolved around the transition to online learning, including the challenges and opportunities this medium offers.
The conversation quickly moved to the question of when in-person instruction will return. It was made clear that any return would be dependent on the development of the virus.
“And it all boils down to health and safety. That is what will determine how we move forward,” Deputy Superintendent Delsa Chapman said in the meeting.
“If we will actually be able to return fully, and when based solely on the health and risk factors, it is our ultimate goal to keep all stakeholders from students to community partners, and definitely our instructional staff safe during this time.”
Some members of the council were optimistic that the pandemic would lead to opportunities, such as improved distribution of devices so that students can participate in virtual learning. Parent Stephen Purchase, who is president of council, wanted to make sure that this opportunity was reaching every student in need.
“I’m curious, you know, maybe on a percentage basis how much of the student body received a device from the district? Would you say the vast majority or…I’m just wondering and I’m thinking about that from the equity standpoint to make sure everybody has the resources they need,” Purchase asked.
Chapman told the group that more than 8,900 devices had been distributed so far.
“So we would say that over 80 definitely, maybe close to 90% of us have received a device,” Chapman said.
Purchase said virtual learning may offer some other benefits.
“I’ve read some really positive kind of thinking on the disciplinary front in that virtual instruction gives kids an opportunity who may struggle sitting in a classroom,” he said. “They can lay on the floor, do what they need to do, and find some success that they otherwise struggle with.”