COVID gives virtual learning a stronger foothold in Michigan as most students return to classrooms.
- Michigan’s virtual learning landscape is changing rapidly.
- At least 18 new full-time virtual schools have opened since the start of the pandemic, aiming to serve COVID-wary parents and the small number of families who discovered that they prefer online classes.
- This coming fall will be the first opportunity since the pandemic began where we can really see what virtual learning might look like post-pandemic.
- This fall, some districts are opening virtual schools with staff and instructional methods focused exclusively on online learning.
- They’re actually planning online learning, instead of just putting Band-Aids on things, like the last year and a half.
Full-time online schools
- Although there’s little data backing the academic outcomes of full-time virtual schools, their numbers are growing.
- There were a significant number of students who really benefited from the virtual experience.
- “We believe the virtual school is here to stay,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said.
- Cost savings and academic performance remains to be seen.
Emergency remote learning
- Most students last year experienced some form of emergency remote learning.
- Many will likely do so again this year as school officials work to limit outbreaks linked to a new, more infectious COVID variant.
- Rules for this year aren’t in place yet, making it hard for administrators to plan.
- Another issue facing emergency remote learning are the attendance rules and interaction definitions.
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