Union reacts to GRPS beginning with virtual learning this fall

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Education Association is sharing their thoughts following Grand Rapids Public Schools’ decision to begin the first nine weeks of the school year with virtual classes.

Overall, many teachers say this move was expected but they’re glad they can now start planning for the fall. 

They do have a few concerns though. The first of those is that a new online learning platform is going to be suggested for teachers. The GREA says they wonder what exactly that will look like and how training will take place.

They also have worries about the format of the school day, how to keep kids engaged and how to monitor attendance and accountability.

As part of the GRPS return to learning plan, students will not begin the school year with in-person learning with the first nine weeks being virtual.

The district reached this plan after surveying parents in the district. They found out earlier this month that 48 percent of parents preferred distance learning, 26 percent a hybrid option and 25 percent preferred only in-person learning.

The president of the GREA says overall, she supports the decision.

“I’m happy with the remote learning,” said Mary Bouwense, president of the Grand Rapids Education Association. “I think that was critical to make our teachers feel comfortable and now that they know what the plan is, they can relax a little bit and start to think about how they want to run their classrooms when school starts.”

GRPS says each student will get the devices they need to take online classes, including the distribution of hot spots. 

Kindergarten and first graders will receive tablets and second through 12th graders will get laptops.

The district is also working on a plan for food distribution.

Online: Grand Rapids Education Association

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