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Schools Coronavirus

Lansing School Superintendent Chris Pettograsso shared reopening plans with the Board of Education at their November 23 meeting -- or rather she shared the administration's plans for sharing plans. Pettograsso said that one of the lessons of this first semester under COVID-19 regulations is that as administrators talk through possible action plans, people have been taking them as actual plans , rather than a part of the process of planning.

"We are not prepared to share information much more than we have already about reopening," she said. "One of the things that we learned is when we do share some plans, people latch on to certain plans when we're just kind of sharing ideas. So we're going to wait a little bit."

Pettograsso said that responses to a per-student survey about how families want school to be conducted have been excellent. Of a community of 1,100 students, the survey has received 850 responses, and Pettograsso says it continues to remain open for those who have not yet filled it out. She says administrators can't make decisions about how much online and in-person instruction may be offered until they know what families want. But she says there is plenty of time.

"Second semester officially starts in the first week of February. We have some time. So we'll probably be focused on making some decisions in January," Pettograsso reported. "We're seeing that it's really a mixed bag of what people want and what they're comfortable with. A larger percentage of families want to have their students come back to school, either the hybrid or, or more. There are some families for which the hybrid back and forth is, too much of a structure to their week. So they prefer four days a week virtual or four days a week in school."

Pettograsso stressed that the main determining factor, regardless of what families want, is safety and the best way to deliver an equitable education to every student.

"We know that it's a really stressful time," Pettograsso said. "I think this next month or two people are waiting to see what happens in the community at large to see where we fall. So we're just trying to take that pressure off families and not making any decisions right now."

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