Lansing school officials answer questions about new year

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 4:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In a press conference Friday, the Lansing School District Board of Education and other officials answered questions about its decision to move to 100 percent virtual learning when the 2020-21 school year starts.

“Maintaining health and safety is priority number one,” Board of Education President Gabrielle Lawrence said Thursday. “Again, we know that not everyone is going to be happy. Not everyone is going to be satisfied. We hope that everyone can bear with us as we try to navigate this really difficult situation that we’re going to be dealing with.”

One of the ways the district will navigate the problem is through asking for ideas when it comes to parents who must go to work and can’t be home with their children during the school year.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’re asking for help,” Lawrence said.

District Deputy Superintendent Delsa Chapman said they’re working with area organizations on solutions to that problem.

Chapman also talked about connectivity issues; since students will remotely attend class, they’ll need internet access. One answer could be wi-fi devices that can be set up in businesses or community centers that create what she called a “mega hot spot” of internet access.

Young children will have different requirements than high school seniors, and that was talked about as well.

Students in kindergarten through second grade, for example, won’t be sitting still for as long as older students.

“We know that that is not possible,” Chapman said. “The structure of the early learners’ day will look different than the upper elementary students.”

Other topics included the MHSAA’s Friday announcement on fall sports starting on a traditional schedule — that requires more conversation with officials, Sinicopri said — and the reporting of positive COVID-19 cases in individual schools.

Sinicropi said the district would do whatever area health departments require of them for that.

However the new school year unfolds, the district officials said communication was going to be extremely important.

“We need this to be two-way communication between families and the district,” Lawrence said.

District Superintendent Sam Sinicopri pledged to continue communication in a variety of formats.

The Lansing School District will seek input from stakeholders, including staff, parents, students and community partners via additional virtual forums on the following dates:

• 3 p.m. Monday with district administrators

• 1 p.m. Tuesday with K-12 instructional and support staff.

• 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday with parents, students, community partners and business affiliates

Click here to access the link to the Facebook Live Q and A.

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