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Continued, equitable access to tech, nutrition key for students

It’s been a busy week for high school administrators, educators and students with the rapid shift to distance learning through Dec. 8 per an emergency order issued Sunday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

For example, in the Marquette Area Schools District, administrative teams from Marquette Senior High School and Marquette Alternative High School have worked quickly to put detailed plans in place for the switch to distance learning, according to a Thursday Journal article.

The shift to online instruction comes with many challenges, especially for students who may rely on school meals or lack an internet connection at home.

However, we were glad to hear that MAPS has plans in place to help students continue accessing the internet and meals through the district. MAPS food service will continue with the scheduled pick up times for breakfasts and lunches, while the district also has established WiFi hotspots at each building for students to use, officials said.

We believe some of the most critical aspects of a distance learning program are ensuring all students have access to the nutritional and technological resources they need to succeed and we are glad to see MAPS addressing these issues in its plan.

However, we hope to see a greater focus statewide on equitable access to technology for public school students, as educational achievement gaps are likely to be created or exacerbated when some students don’t have a computer or internet connection they can use at home for remote schoolwork.

Due to this, we urge state and local leaders to continue developing plans that will help all students access the resources they need to succeed if remote learning becomes a long-term situation.

It may be a cliched phrase, but our children truly are our future, and as a society, we need to ensure they all have an equal chance at a successful distance learning experience.

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