Students, parents, need clear direction

It remains unclear how long our students will be out of class.

Unfortunately, it also remains unclear what the coronavirus shutdown will mean to their academic futures.

How will seniors earn the necessary credits for graduation? How will the time off of school affect athletics? What role will it play in scholarships, some of which are tied to the scores of standardized tests that may not be given this academic year?

What about kids who were already struggling? Teachers work hard at the beginning of every school year to overcome academic skills lost over the long summer break. They’ll have to do the same whenever schools return from the shutdown caused by the virus.

Thus far, the state has not answered those questions and has instead sewn more confusion. Many schools have tried to provide online learning opportunities for their homebound students, but the Michigan Department of Education last week issued a memo warning superintendents time spent in online learning don’t count toward mandated hours of instruction. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer followed up with a press release assuring the public students would be held harmless by her orders, but she didn’t provide any specifics. Numerous rigid state laws are in play tying the hands of state and school leaders.

We appreciate and understand that the state is in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis, and, by and large, Whitmer and her team are showing strong leadership in trying to tamp down the spread of the virus.

But they have to find time to provide clarity to students and parents. And soon.



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