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Rockford teacher retiring due to COVID-19 risk, to offer free virtual math class

"I really had no plans for retiring until this virus situation came up," said Fred Reusch.

ROCKFORD, Mich. — After 30 years, a West Michigan math teacher, who is retiring due to being high risk for contracting COVID-19, is setting up shop in his basement to offer a free virtual course. 

Fred Reusch, 72, said he planned to keep teaching AP calculus at Rockford High School as long as he physically could. 

"When Rockford made their final decision to go back to in person classes," Reusch said. "I decided that it was time that I probably should retire."

The district's roughly 8,000 students begin class on Monday. The first two weeks of classes are virtual, with teachers in the classroom. On Sept. 14, students will return to campus, but families have the option to keep their children home. Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler said about 10% of students will continue with virtual learning. 

"I would much rather teach in class, but I just can't take the chance with this deadly virus, for our family," Reusch said, who retired earlier this week. 

Reusch said he is working with the staff members who will take over his course at the high school. 

"Anytime you lose somebody of Mr. Reusch's caliber, it's a loss," said Dr. Shibler. 

Reusch's Facebook post about his retirement was met with hundreds of comments recounting the ways he had helped students excel. 

But, Reusch isn't giving up on teaching. His hope, he says, is to provide a free virtual AP calculus course to any student, who does not have access to the course at their school. 

"I'm not trying to say I can do this any better than any teachers that are teaching in school systems. So, it's not for students who have a teacher currently either online or in class," Reusch said. 

Instead, he hopes to teach students who would not have access to the class or a calculus teacher. He plans to upload lessons to YouTube and hold live class meetings, as well. 

Connecting with students is what kept him coming back for three decades, Reusch said. As he learned last spring when schools shut down and switched to virtual learning, connecting with students remotely isn't easy, but he says it's the best case scenario for him right now. 

"It's going to be hard to make connections to the students, but I'm going to try as hard as I can," Reusch said. 

To sign up to take Reusch's course, email him at fredareusch@gmail.com. 

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