online learning


Ann Arbor Public Schools announced Wednesday, February 24, that it will resume a form of in-person learning by the end of March.

Ann Arbor Public Schools
Jenna Bacalor / Ann Arbor Public Schools

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the visual arts.  Lisa Barry and state and local arts leader Omari Rush talk with Jenna Bacolor, executive director of Ann Arbor Public Schools Community Division, about the many community arts opportunities provided by the "Rec and Ed" department in the school district.


Out of the 10 school districts that are part of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, only two currently offer in-person instruction options.  

Ann Arbor
Wikipedia Media Commons /

Ann Arbor school superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift says they are continuing to reevaluate and reconsider the pandemic situation and possible impact on in-person learning every day.  She talks with WEMU's Lisa Barry about navigating the school district through a global health crisis and responds to a group of parents pushing for some students to return to in-person learning.

Ann Arbor Reasonable Return
Ann Arbor Reasonable Return /

The Ann Arbor public school district has been online only, offering a "virtual school day" since the school year began due to the coronavirus pandemic.  A group of parents calling themselves "Ann Arbor Reasonable Return" was formed to advocate for some type of in-person classroom teaching for some students.

Lisa Barry talks with one group member, Lilia Cortina, about their concerns and hopes for restoring some in person learning for students who are struggling learning online at home.

Wiki Commons

As of today, Wednesday, November 18th, all high schools in Washtenaw County with in-person instruction have shifted to virtual learning only.  

Crystal Harding
Crystal Harding

Ypsilanti High School choir teacher Crystal Harding said she was determined to make the most of this time for students, even though they can't be together due to the pandemic.  So she wrote and had students record a virtual choir video called "New Way."

Lisa Barry talked to the music teacher and high school junior Jamira Daniels, who sang in the video, about the song and the inspiration they hope others find from it.

Saline Area Schools

Saline Area Schools says they’re ready to kick off the new school year next Tuesday, but, for now, will not allow students to make changes to the learning model format they selected for the fall. 


Starting next week, Ann Arbor Public Schools will start distributing technology devices that students need as part of their virtual learning for the fall.  

James Smith
Eastern Michigan University /

Back to school plans continue to evolve due to our global health crisis with Eastern Michigan University making some last minute changes for the fall semester announced Monday, August 24th.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talked with EMU president Dr. James Smith, who details the changes and the impact on students and faculty.

University of Michigan
University of Michigan School of Information /

There have been protests for several days this week outside the University of Michigan Administration Building by a group of faculty members, who say they have "no confidence" in the university's plan for some in-person learning this fall.  Professor Kentaro Toyama talks with WEMU's Lisa Barry about organizing the protests and shares their concerns about health and safely teaching U-M students in person during a pandemic.

James Smith
Eastern Michigan University /

Classes begin at Eastern Michigan University on August 31st.  Because of COVID-19, it will be a different kind of campus experience.  EMU president Dr. James Smith joined WEMU's David Fair to highlight the plan and discuss the challenges of providing an education during a pandemic. 

Washtenaw ISD

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District will start its school year with online-only learning.

Ann Arbor Public Schools /

The coronavirus pandemic has made schools and universities across the country reconsider how to safely accomodate students.  The Ann Arbor school district determined the best way to keep students, staff, and teachers healthy is to begin the academic year with online classes.  Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift joined WEMU's David Fair with a look at the decision, its impact on students and families, and what needs to be done before the start of classes in September. 

Saline Area Schools

Saline Area Schools plans to offer hybrid and remote learning options in the fall in addition to full-time, in-person instruction.  

YCS Offering New Online Summer Learning Program

Jun 25, 2020
Ypsilanti Community Schools

In addition to its virtual summer school, Ypsilanti Community Schools is now offering a new online summer learning program. 

Riverside Arts Center
Riverside Arts Center /

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the local visual arts scene.  WEMU's Lisa Barry is joined by Omari Rush, executive director of CultureSource and Chair of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.  They talk with Elisa Guyton, executive director of the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti, who has been working hard to keep the center connected to the community during a pandemic which began just a few months after she took over the job.

Online Class
LeanForward If /

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the doors to school buildings are locked for the rest of this school year.  This is not a surprise.  It just makes permanent an earlier order that temporarily closed schools.  That was to buy time to come up with plans to address the rapid spread of the coronavirus.  But the governor says it won’t be safe anytime soon for students and teachers to return to school.  We have more from Rick Pluta.

Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Saying they are always looking for ways to be creative, Gem Advocacy Group co-founders Dr. Benjamin Edmondson and Jason Gold launched an online reading series to help kids from elementary school age to high school engage in literacy, while all schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with the Washtenaw County area men about their effort.


School districts across Washtenaw County are facing technological challenges to continue educating students as they stay at home.