East Lansing schools return to in-person learning March 1 after almost a year of remote classes.
East Lansing High School Principal Andrew Wells said, “the learning plan entails an opportunity for students to return to school starting March 1 in a hybrid setting, meaning some of our students will be taught in person and the others who have chosen to do so will remain learning remote.”
According to Wells, 47% of students have chosen to return to in-person learning while the other 53% are sticking with online learning.
The East Lansing school district has enacted plans to ensure the safety of students and faculty for those returning to schools.
“One thing we are planning on doing is leaning on the parents to do the health department screener before students actually come to school and keep their kids home if they are not feeling well,” Wells said.
In addition to at-home screening, students are required to wear their masks while on school property. This includes outside the school building and in their cars after they leave school. The only exception for students is while eating in the cafeteria.
“Students are going to have to get used to a new normal, if you will. The socialization that they are used to in school will not be the same, but this is an opportunity for students to come back and be connected to their teachers again,” Wells said.
It is no surprise that many K-12 students have become different learners this year after struggling with online learning, but students’ mental health has also been a topic for discussion for the district.
Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Glenn Mitcham said, “there is lots of evidence out there that shows that students are struggling with depression so this will be a great advantage for those who return.”
Mitcham added, “students will gain the opportunity to have social interaction with one another as this has been a very isolated time for everybody but especially our K-12 students.”
Returning to in-person instruction has been long-awaited.
Online learning has been in effect since March of 2020 as a result of COVID-19. K-12 students moved to online learning at the end of last year and have been on and off remote learning for the school year.
The district has been preparing to have students return. Since August, the district has had a learning plan each month to discuss how students will be learning and how teachers will be teaching.
Mitcham said, “We, as a district, have made a commitment to not return to in-person learning until all of our teachers are able to get vaccinated and have at least seven days after the second vaccine before students return.”