Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools, proposes that K-12 schools in Michigan be closed for the remainder of the school year and instead have online learning continue at home. He also wants to ensure that high school seniors can graduate this spring.
In an open letter to education leaders in Michigan, Vitti suggest districts be required to develop an online learning platform within a reasonable amount of time in response to mitigate the damage from the coronavirus virus.
He says in Monday's letter:
Declare schools closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.
Require all districts to develop an online learning platform within a reasonable amount of time. This can include distributing laptops with internet access to families. (This will require the flexibility to use federal and state education funds differently and support from the business and philanthropic community.)
Lessons can be recorded via video and posted online by grade level and subject area. Similar to higher education online learning platforms, teachers can post lessons on district websites and students will submit coursework through cloud storage solutions or email.
The learning process should be considered enrichment for students, not required since it will be impossible to ensure equal access to all students.
There are also significant challenges for students with disabilities being required to learn independently from home without direct face-to-face support.
Viti also noted that after sanitizatizing buildings,, he opened 58 schools to serve “Grab & Go” breakfast, lunch and printed learning materials by grade and subject. So far, he said, "we have served about 70,000 meals in the first three days."
► Update: Because of staff concerns about risks to them, that setup changes Thursday to 17 distribution sites that will give out four days worth of meals every Monday and Thursday. Details are here.