- Sponsorship -

Families need to choose either full-time virtual or in-school learning

Despite months of planning for the 2020-2021 school year, Sparta Superintendent Pete Bush said the district was — like most schools this year — “in survival mode.”

“We are prepared for everything and of course do not know exactly what will occur,” said Bush, “But we believe we are as prepared as we can be for whatever happens.”

The Sparta plan is simply an either-or proposition. Families may choose to have students go to school for face-to-face instruction or choose a completely virtual program, which will be provided by Michigan Virtual, a state-run online program. The district requires students to enroll in an entire semester for grades 6-12 and a trimester for grades K-5. 

Surveys indicate that about 22-24 percent of families will choose virtual education for at least one semester. “This will help us significantly reduce class sizes, which will help with social distancing issues,” said Bush

In the case of a renewed statewide school closure or unforeseen health issues in the district, students enrolled in face-to-face education would revert to “emergency remote learning” with the same classroom teachers they had during in-classroom instruction, while virtual learners would experience no interruption of their planned studies, said Bush.

“This has been a tremendously hard choice for parents,” he said. Even after the final deadline to choose had passed, he noted, there were over 300 undecided families. 

- Sponsorship -
Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

‘Even though it is extra work, I don’t mind the changes’

Teachers of specialty subjects — art, music and physical education — share their experiences after the pandemic prompts changes to class procedures...

Homecoming, modified

The coronavirus pandemic has forced school districts to make changes to the ways they celebrate some annual traditions...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU