The Farmington Public School system’s “Moving Forward Learning” plan allows students to continue to learn remotely or return to school with a hybrid learning plan.
Deciding to return to in-person learning
The decision to have students return to school was based on two factors, science and family needs, said Bobbie Goodrum, Ph.D., the interim superintendent as well as the assistant superintendent for diversity, equity and inclusion for the Farmington Hills School District.
“We’re not seeing spread in school, but we are still seeing community spread, which of course impacts us because every student, every staff member is a part of the community, and we don’t have control over what they do once they leave school,” said Goodrum.
She has been with the district for 14 years and described everything that is going on right now in the world as “unprecedented times.” Goodrum also noted that remote learning is not a one size fit all type of thing and that some students need that face-to-face interaction with their peers and teachers.
“I know there are so many families for whom that online option is not an effective form of modality of education for their students, so it was important for us to have options,” said Goodrum.
Thomas Hull has three children enrolled in Farmington Public Schools district. Hull has two children who are in middle school and a first grader who was a kindergarten at the start of the pandemic. Hull said that it was a learning adjustment for his entire family, especially his kindergartner.
“My two older children were able to adapt pretty well, however with my 6-year-old it was harder and created a learning curve for the parents as well.”
Wesley Stephens also has a son who attends Farmington Public Schools and decided for his child to do hybrid learning. Stephens said that online learning was just okay for his son.
“It worked okay, not a great fit for him,” said Stephens. It benefited him more to have in-person interaction with his classmates and his teachers.”
Hesitant to return
Hull said at first he was incredibly nervous about sending his children back to school during a pandemic, but since settling into the routine since January, he feels more comfortable doing the in-person schooling with the hybrid system.
“For elementary, kids are only in school for two hours, and they stay in the same classroom all day, and each desk has shields in front of them, and they have on their face masks all day as well,” said Hull.
Stephens also felt uneasy about sending his son back to school, but said Farmington Hills Public Schools is doing an excellent job with the transition to hybrid learning.
“I think they’ve been very diligent in their efforts,” said Stephens. They do daily health screening and the number of students in the classroom is limited so they can practice social distancing.”
Going good so far
Hull said that he has noticed a change in his children since returning to school. They are a lot happier and have something to look forward to now, especially his then kindergartner, now first grader.
“They’re enjoying going back to school and getting out of the routine of being at home and laying down all day on their screen,” said Hull. “It gives them something to look forward to every day to get up for their mental and emotional health.”
Hull and Stephens were both very satisfied with the efforts that the district has put in place to keep everyone safe.
Goodrum made it clear that the district is taking every precaution with health in mind.
“When I say safe, I want to make sure that no one is under the impression that I am saying that we can guarantee 100% that nothing will happen because we can’t do that,” said Goodrum. “All we can say is that we have put forth every measure that we have heard about that has been successful in reducing the risk to our students and our staff and therefore our family and our community.”