Mason students, teacher compare on in-person, online instruction

With the return to some in-person instruction, some Mason High School students cho0se to continue learning from home. “I just think it really depends on the person. Some people are doing better online,” Mason senior Lauren Pekrul said. “That’s why I stayed online, because I thought I was more productive. And then I think a lot of people needed to be in person to really get a good education.

Brian Walmsley reads to a third grade class at Will L. Lee Elementary School.

COVID-19 concerns drive Richmond schools to extend online and in-person options

Brian Walmsley reads to a third grade class at Will L. Lee Elementary School via Richmond Community Schools Facebook page. 

COVID-19 cases rise across the state of Michigan as more K-12 students have returned to in-person learning. 

Richmond Community school district board reevaluated its Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan via Zoom at the school board’s regular meeting on March 22. The board decided to continue options for both in-person and virtual learning. 

Superintendent Brian Walmsley said the district had an emergency meeting March 22 with the Health Department in Macomb County about high school students seeing an  increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Some board members asked how Richmond compared to other school districts. 

“Anchor Bay shut down for a couple days this week for the high school and I know St. Clair County’s got a ton of districts that are now virtual,” said Treasurer Danielle Sutton. 

According to Walmsley, Richmond schools are monitoring differences in COVID-19 cases among districts, including tracing positive cases back to events that have taken place outside school, such as a party or social gathering.  

“Nine out of 10 times, the contact tracing goes back to an event that has been outside of school … but typically when school districts are at that point (facing shutdowns), they are starting to identify the spread is happening because of contact within the school,” said Walmsley. “We haven’t had the significant positive cases that other districts are reporting.” 

Richmond schools have been averaging one exposure per day and had around 100 students in quarantine as of March 22, according to Walmsley. 

Walmsley said there was concern about spring break causing a spike in positive cases.  

With both in-person and virtual options for all students K-12, the district uses a two-way communication policy to measure attendance. Currently, around 10% of students have virtual instruction. 

Walmsley encouraged students, parents and staff to keep following social distancing and wear masks.

Novi High School junior’s basketball season cut short by contact tracing

Eva Khalil, starter on the Novi girls varsity basketball team, had  her season cut short due to contact tracing at Novi High School. 

Novi varsity Women’s Basketball instagramEva Khalil, #3 for Novii, playing basketball against Grand Blanc. Khalil has been playing basketball for nine years and is a power forward. Her junior season was quickly taken away from her after sitting next to a classmate who tested positive for COVID-19. 

“They called me down to the attendance office on March 18th, handed me some tissues, and basically said I have to quarantine from school and all activities for 10 days,” Khalil said. 

Khalil’s quarantine will be up on March 27, but that was not soon enough. Khalil missed a crossover game, and a  district playoff game March 24, as well as the district championship on March 26, which Farmington Hills Mercy won, 55-38. “Devastated is an understatement at this point,” Khalil said.

Michigan State University education students claim inequities in internship program

TEACHER PREP: By Chloe Trofatter. Are teacher preparation programs driving prospective educators away from the field? Lack of respect, inadequate wages and overly demanding workloads were cited as a few of the top forces driving them out of the field. MSU education majors are complaining that the mandatory unpaid one-year internship — student teaching — plus the cost of additional credits are a costly barrier to them entering the profession. We talk to students, the Michigan Education Association and the university. By Chloe Trofatter. . FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Private colleges work to enroll more minority students

PRIVATE COLLEGE DIVERSITY: Two traditionally white-majority private Michigan colleges, Albion College and Kalamazoo College, are leaders in efforts to diversify their student bodies. Alma College is recruiting heavily in Detroit to build its minority representation. We talk to the president of Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities, officials of all three schools and an Albion student. By Elaine Mallon. FOR COLDWATER, DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Some special education students thrive, others regress during pandemic

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Special education students require more attention from educators to be able to retain information. The pandemic has made learning easier for some, while most have regressed. We talk to the president-elect of the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education, who is a former special ed director at Godwin Heights Public Schools and the parents of special needs children in Caledonia and Grand Rapids. By Kristia Potsema. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, IONIA AND ALL POINTS.

East Lansing High School teachers discuss struggles of teaching two groups of students at once

East Lansing teachers have had mixed reactions since going back to in-person classes March 1. Cody Harrell teaches advanced and regular freshman English and advises the newspaper and yearbook. After his first full week back, he didn’t feel that great. “Teaching to two audiences at the same time… is very difficult,” Harrell said. “Because that’s where we’re at, we’re teaching online and in person students the same curriculum at the same time.”

The school provides two monitors and document cameras to help teachers instruct two separate audiences at the same time.