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GRPS votes to expand in-person learning to four days a week

The plan will bring students in Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, while Wednesday will remain virtual for the buildings to be cleaned.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Monday night, Grand Rapids Public Schools approved the expansion of its in-person learning to four days a week. But not everyone in the district is on board.

The Kent County Health Department says the expansion is safe because it found only a small number of cases tied to in-person learning.

"Of the students, only 2% occurred in the classroom, just under 2% actually," says Joann Hoganson, director of community wellness for KCHD. "Transmission of the virus student-to-student in the classroom setting is extremely, extremely low."

Before the vote, at least 17 people called in to the meeting share their opinion on the subject. One parent in favor of the expansion said their children's grades were slipping while at home.

"On the days they're present they do the work and on the days they're virtual they do nothing," said the caller. "They may log in, but they're not truly present, it's obvious to the teacher and myself. They're doing 50% of the work."

The plan will bring students in Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, while Wednesday will remain virtual for the buildings to be cleaned.

GRPS teacher Lisa Honeycutt spoke in opposition, saying conditions were not as safe as the district says they are.

"All the mitigation things are not in place. I work here, I know," says Honeycutt. "I don't care about statistics that are a week or two weeks old from the health department. I personally have been to the funeral of a student. COVID is real."

With unanimous approval from the board, the new in person learning model will begin on Monday, April 12.

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