Michigan Connections Academy takes students on virtual field trip

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 9:32 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - In this edition of Schools Rule, WILX News 10 is joining students at Michigan Connections Academy (MICA) on a virtual field trip.

“All of a sudden this year we have to go virtual for field trips,” explained Amy Dunlap, the Field Trip Coordinator at MICA. “We were like, ‘We can do this.’”

Michigan Connections Academy is an online public school. In a typical school year they host several in-person field trips, including a back-to-school trip in the Fall.

All that changed because of the pandemic.

“It’s not the in-person experience, but it’s still a way to keep that momentum going and to build those relationships,” explained Dunlap.

“It’s cool to be able to continue that aspect of things and build those relationships,” Larry Dumond added. Dumond is a Middle School Math Support teacher at MICA and a firefighter at the New Hazelton Fire Department in Shiawassee County.

MICA put a new spin on things for 2020. Their virtual field trip focused on fire prevention and safety techniques.

Those included fire safety in the kitchen, like making sure not to leave any kitchen towels on the stove even when it is not in use. Dumond and Gailey also advise against charging phones in beds and to be extra careful of plastic-blend clothing that can be more flammable.

“It’s a very interactive piece and there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes with other teachers,” explained Kelen Gailey. Gailey is a Special Education Transition Coordinator with MICA and a firefighter and medical first responder.

Dumond and Gailey created videos to walk students in K-12 through different scenarios and fire-safety situtations. Dumond says he and Gailey also spoke to the process of becoming a firefighter and first responder.

“We are an online school but we still do calls every two weeks with homeroom teachers, we do lessons daily and this is just another way to get to know your students and continue that relationship,” said Dumond.

“We are not in traditional times anymore,” said Gailey. “So being able to provide this for our students, I think, is fantastic,” Gailey added.

When asked about all the work that went into putting the virtual trip together, Dunalp had this to say:

“It’s so refreshing to work with people like Larry and Kelen who don’t care what it takes to do what’s best for students, they’re going to do it.”

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