Return to Learn Completely: AAPS Plans to Completely Return to In-Person Learning

Ann Arbor Public School’s plans on returning all students to full in-person learning at all grade levels

in-person learning
Image courtesy of the AAPS Facebook page.

Towards the end of the 2020-21 Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) school year, parents, students, and AAPS staff have questioned what the upcoming school year will look like, especially after the initial phasing into hybrid learning in May. Dr. Swift announced in March that students can expect in-person learning without a hybrid option but there are so many details that students and parents need to know. 

Below are the logistics of in-person learning for preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school AAPS students. With students returning today, students can expect many changes to come throughout the year. All students will have devices provided to them by AAPS to support their learning regardless of what mode of instruction they are receiving. 


Preschool will only be offered in an in-person format. Programs such as First Steps, Early On, Great Start Readiness, and Head Start preschool will be offered at certain elementary schools. Westerman Preschool will offer their typical options for students. 

Elementary School 

For elementary students, parents decided whether their student will participate in the “Full in-school learning,” “A2Live,” or “A2Virtual+ Elementary” options. Full in-school learning is five days a week at a student’s elementary school. This program will be available at all AAPS elementary schools. 

A2Live provides a similar experience but completely online where an elementary student will have synchronous learning with other elementary-age students. AAPS teachers teach this program with the AAPS curriculum. 

A2Virtual+ students are learning through an asynchronous program where they will be able to monitor their pace in concurrence with a pacing guide for their classes. Students will be working with AAPS teachers but will not necessarily be using an AAPS-specific curriculum. They will be able to attend office hours and class meetings as needed to receive support from their teachers. Students can participate in synchronous meetings twice a week with their teachers but this is completely optional. Click the following links to read some frequently asked questions about A2Virtual+ and A2Live

Elementary students can expect a cohorting strategy similar to the cohort groupings in the 2020-21 school year. With more students coming to school, however, AAPS recognizes that three feet of distance will be attempted but not always ensured. All students in elementary, middle, and high school will be offered no-cost breakfasts and lunches for the entire school year. Parents do not need to apply for these free breakfast and lunches. Elementary students will have seating charts during lunch and will need to wear masks when not actively eating. 

As announced to the dismay of many elementary school parents, AAPS will not be holding before- and after-school childcare this school year. The program is meant to be redesigned for the 2022-23 school year to be “better aligned to our equity and Rec & Ed mission.” This may change with the results of the lawsuit against the Board of Education as well as the announcement that children below the age of 12 can now receive a COVID vaccine, but AAPS has yet to comment. 

At this time, parents can sign their students up for after-school Rec & Ed programs. All students regardless of grade level will be wearing a mask during in-person inside learning. Additionally, students will not have to register for a ride for the school bus on all grade levels. 

All unvaccinated students (regardless of grade level) will need to be quarantined for 10 days if in close contact with an infected individual at school.

Middle School and High School

Middle school students will have the option to choose between full, in-person learning or A2Virtual-based instruction. A2Virtual is completely asynchronous and has been utilized in the past by middle and high school students. A2Virtual students will also have options to schedule meetings or office hours with their instructors. In-person students can opt to take A2Virtual classes as part of their in-person curriculum with permission from the school.

Sixth graders will be able to choose an A2Live option where they will have synchronous but online learning. This option is only available to sixth graders and is modeled in the same format as the elementary school version. 

Middle school/high school start and end times can slightly differ depending on the school.

High school students will have the same options as middle school students with in-person or A2Virtual learning. During lunch, students can utilize both indoor and outside spaces. Students not actively eating will need to wear masks. 

AAPS will try to create a distance of at least three feet for students in middle and high school but they also recognize that this can not always be ensured. Superintendent Dr. Swift encouraged parents in her August 6 Superintendent’s message. 

“Parents play an important role by getting eligible students vaccinated, keeping children home when sick, limiting potential exposure to COVID outside of school, and making sure children are up-to-date on required immunizations.” Swift wrote.