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Rockford Public Schools approve back to school plan, first three weeks online

Before the vote, parents and staff called into the virtual meeting to share their thoughts on the plan.

ROCKFORD, Mich. — Rockford Public Schools unanimously passed its back to school plan Monday night. Students will begin the school year online for at least the first three weeks before a potential return to the classroom.

But not everyone is on board with it. Before the vote, parents and staff called into the virtual meeting to share their thoughts on the plan.

"I can certainly speak to my now soon-to-be first grader that the online learning, for him, was a disaster," explained one mom. "I'm concerned this is a tipping point to then being fully online which is really detrimental to our children's education."

Another called in to say the decision should be left to the parents.

"We didn't shut down our country for H1N1 or SARS or any other pandemic," says the caller. "Schools around us are opening up for in-person learning. Let us the parents make the best decision for our children. Let us the parents decide what we are comfortable with in regards to what works for our children."

Others spoke in support of the plan, with one mother worried about the virus being brought into her home after another parent suggested kids are less likely to spread it.

"I'm concerned what happens when my kid goes to school and while they may not get that sick, they absolutely can transmit it," she explained. "There's been studies that have been out, we're continuing to learn new things about this that shows, yes, kids can spread this disease."

A music teacher in the district also called in to support the online plan, pointing out that if kids get it in school they will have to return to online classes anyway.

"Of course I would love to be in person listening to my students play their instruments. However, that is in an ideal world," she says. "If face to face instruction were to occur at this time, positive cases of the virus would rise."

Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler says even when in person learning begins again, parents who feel unsafe will still have the opportunity to have their kids remain online.

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