UPDATE: ELPS Superintendent to recommend remote classes

If passed, students will be learning remotely through September 30.
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 4:14 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2020 at 5:16 AM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - AAnother Mid-Michigan school district appears to be headed for an online start.

East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dori Leyko recommended to the ELPS Board of Education that the school year begin remotely this fall.

The ELPS school board did not make a decision on whether or not to move forward with the plan during their meeting on July 27.

Leyko’s recommendation needs to be approved by the school board by August 15, or at least seven days before school starts.

The plan calls for ELPS to go fully remote until at least Sept. 30. The plan aligns with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s current executive order, which is set to expire Sept. 30.

Leyko said if the executive order is extended, families should anticipate remote learning to be extended as well. She said young students will be the most challenged during remote learning.

Leyko said ELPS is forming a kindergarten transition team to help kindergartners adjust to virtual learning.

“Help design some activities, some opportunities, and even some one-on-one visits or something in small groups that might allow some students to meet their teacherm” Leyko said.

Leyko’s plan will outline that online learning will be more rigorous than it was when classes were originally transferred online at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leyko said teachers will be able to break students into small groups for better instruction.

“We know that many families requested more live learning or at least live time with their teacher and not recorded videos,” Leyko said.

ELPS is working on finalizing schedules for students to follow while learning remotely.

Leyko said a student’s schedule will best mirror the schedule the student would’ve followed in person at school.

“We’re working on all of this all within the same time that typically our teachers and kids would be in the classroom learning, but knowing that all of our instructional work will remain on there so families and kids who can’t access it at certain times can access it later,” Leyko said. “We want it to be flexible.”

The district will count letter grades as well as take attendance, but will be flexible with families schedules.

“We don’t want to penalize families for not being able to make a certain time work so attendance could be taken by assignment completion and other ways too,” Leyko said.

All Pre-K through second grade students will receive an iPad, while all third grade students through high school seniors will receive either a Chromebook or a laptop. Leyko’s plan said ELPS will support families who lack high-speed internet by providing hotspots or other internet connectivity support.

Meal distribution and delivery will continue during remote learning.

Once ELPS decides to turn back to in-person classes, the transition period will take two to three weeks and will be done in phases. Those phases will begin with younger children and special populations returning first.

The plan will include both screen time and non-screen time activities and assignments. More synchronous time with teachers and classmates will be scheduled.

The superintendent’s plan said ELPS has made no decision on sports and extracurricular activities yet, but will monitor the Michigan High School Athletic Association guidelines.

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