Its a return to the one-room school, but in many cases it's just one student as well. As area educators wait for direction from the Michigan Department of Education, some are reaching out to parents for some basic information as they contemplate various ways to instruct students at home.

Climax-Scotts School Superintendent Doug Newington sent out a Technology Availability Survey today, using the same database the district uses to communicate school cancellations and delays to parents and students.

The survey asks each respondent to list all students and their grade levels who reside with them.  It also asks if the household currently has internet access and a desktop or laptop computer that a student could use. It also has a section for parents to pose questions or comments.  The survey was sent out in English and Spanish.

Lakeview Superintendent Blake Prewitt says they’ve already surveyed in their district.

Nathan Hunt, Communications Manager at Battle Creek Public Schools says they are working on getting a similar survey out today (Friday, March 27th).  He says they are working with their language support team to get it out in Spanish and Burmese as well.

Harper Creek Superintendent Rob Ridgeway says their survey is on their website, and they are requesting the information to help the process of distance/online learning.  The survey gets into a lot of specifics about reliable internet speed, (a real issue in some areas of the Harper Creek district), and whether or not Wi-Fi is unlimited.  The survey even asks about how many children’s books that residents have on hand in their homes.

Pennfield School Superintendent Kevin Simmons says they are in process to gather information now.  He says he reached out to administrators and directors to see what their technical resources and capabilities are, and they’re reaching out to survey teachers as to their technology resources at home.  He says some teachers have already connected with parents at home to see how they can help with home education.

Rural school districts like Pennfield, Harper Creek, and Climax-Scotts have a real challenge since many residents don’t have very good internet available.