It suddenly seems clear to me that plans for in-person instruction this year are wishful thinking at best and a distraction at worst.
A viable plan for in-person school would require (a) re-imagining how schools operate and (b) additional funding for implementation. The district probably can’t pull off the first on its own and the second is definitely outside its control. In a better world, leadership at the state and federal levels would contribute ideas and funding. In such a world, we might even contain COVID-19 to the point that kids and teachers can return to school without imaginative plans.
But based on the last few months and where things stand now, I bet kids won’t set foot in Ann Arbor Public Schools classrooms this entire school year. Anyone want to wager I’m wrong?
Here’s hoping I can return to this post in coming months and laugh at how foolishly pessimistic I was. But in the meantime, I’ll plan for the worst.
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is considering possible improvements to I-94, south of Ann Arbor. The timing is lucky: they were still in the study phase when the impact of COVID-19 emerged and there’s time to hit the pause button. For fiscal and environmental reasons, and to meet its stated goals, the state should indefinitely halt any investments in this stretch of highway.
This project would add capacity to the stretch between Ann Arbor-Saline Road and US-23 pictured here:
MDOT’s objectives for this stretch include accommodating an increased volume of traffic. They seek to “reduce recurring peak period congestion along the corridor and improve travel time reliability” as well as “provide reasonable capacity to address existing and 20-year forecasted 2045 traffic demand along the corridor.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the case for spending millions to improve traffic flow on this stretch. We can no longer afford this project, but luckily, we also no longer need it.