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State Superintendent Encouraged that 97 percent of Public Schools Offer In-Person by March 1

LANSING – State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice is encouraged by the news that Governor Gretchen Whitmer shared in a press conference today that 97 percent of traditional public school districts in Michigan will be providing some level of in-person learning to students by March 1. 

“With strong mitigation efforts, more educators and other citizens vaccinated daily, and the presence of antigen tests, our COVID numbers have flattened,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “More and more districts are rightly re-opening as a result. While we need to remain vigilant, we also need to offer families in all districts at a minimum an in-person option for their children. In-person instruction is better for so many of our kids, socioemotionally and academically. Families deserve choices for their children’s education.”

According to the February monthly report issued earlier this week by the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University, researchers noted that of all Michigan school districts, including public school academies, 83 percent were planning to offer some form of in-person instruction in February. The 83 percent figure for February is up from 61 percent in January and 48 percent in December.

The report is a collaboration with the state’s Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) from data submitted monthly by local school districts across Michigan with the results posted on CEPI’s Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Dashboard.

The EPIC report shows that districts offering fully in-person instruction tend to be smaller than the state average, whereas districts offering hybrid instruction tend to be larger. The 65 percent of districts that planned to offer fully in-person schooling in February represent only 55 percent of Michigan K-12 students.

Having 83 percent of all local school districts offering some form of in-person instruction option in February, and 97 percent of traditional school districts by March 1, is encouraging.

“We need to keep improving, until all families in all districts have an in-person option,” Dr. Rice said. “There’s nothing wrong with parents choosing to educate their children remotely this year, but all parents should have a choice for the education of their children.”

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