HOLLAND, Mich. — Brian Davis thinks remote learning is the way to go.
"The data and the science speaks for itself," says Davis, superintendent of Holland Public Schools.
Beth DeShone, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project, disagrees.
"The actual science and data is showing us that it is safe," she says.
Davis announced Friday his district will pause in-person learning for two weeks after Spring Break. He says the decision was made at the recommendation of the Ottawa County health department.
"If that allows us to mitigate things from Spring Break, to mitigate factors that will allow us to be able to end this year strong, then this short-term pause is worth the long-term gain," says Davis.
But DeShone worries it won't just be a short-term pause.
"We've seen this before," DeShone says. "Last spring, it was two weeks to flatten the curve and then it turned into 12 weeks of lost learning opportunities for students and then we went through an entire summer."
A parent herself, she believes the choice to be in person or not should be left to the families.
"Michiganders are smart people and parents understand their kiddos," she says. "They're going to do what's right by their family and their community."
Davis agrees that in-person learning is the preferred form of education, but says his decision comes down to safety of both the students and staff.
"I'm going to follow the doctors who are concerned with public health," he says. "Who are seeing the trends and trajectories of what's happening, and what's happening across the school communities."
Aside from a mandatory switch to remote learning statewide in December, Holland Public Schools has been learning in-person the entire school year.
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