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WATCH: Michigan Senate discusses setting online learning standards during rare Saturday session

Saturday is deadline to submit back to school plans
Senate calls rare Saturday session to discuss forcing Michigan school districts to offer in-person option
Posted at 4:59 AM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 15:07:48-04

Michigan Senators are punching the clock over the weekend to discuss a series of “back to school” bills already passed by the Republican-led House.

As the debate over in-person versus online learning continues, school districts have just one day left to finalize their plans for the fall.

Parents of special needs students planned to rally in Madison Heights at 11 a.m. Friday, angry because they say the school’s administration hasn’t given them a clear-cut plan for the fall yet.

This speaks to what a difficult boat districts, parents, students, and teachers are in right now, as we’re finding more and more that what might work for one family, just doesn’t work for another.

Michigan state senators have called a rare Saturday session to discuss forcing school districts to offer a face-to-face learning option. Also expected on their agenda, a number of school-related bills, passed by the Republican-led House in July.

Watch state Senate session below:

The bills cover topics like how to approach attendance requirements for online learning and setting a state standard for e-learning days.

The state House plans to convene Monday.

Many metro Detroit teachers say they’re feeling overlooked, including teachers like Jamie Pietron, President of the Anchor Bay Education Association.

She’s worried about being able to social distance in school, given how many district parents want their students to learn face-to-face.

"If you look at a typical classroom, putting children six feet apart when you have 34 kids in a classroom, you cant do it," Pietron said.

Another tall task for districts, also an issue included in these series of education bills — is making sure students have equal access to technology for remote learning.

One of the bills would also allow districts to deny virtual learning to students Kindergarten through fifth grade if the online course didn’t meet their age-appropriate academic standards.

Saturday is also the deadline for districts to come up with a re-opening plan.