Governor's goal of returning Michigan students to in-person learning is today

Several weeks ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set a goal to get every school district open to some form of in-person learning by March 1. The deadline arrived today, so how'd we do?

A recent survey of Michigan districts found that around 97% met the criteria.

Although, some notable exceptions were also reported - namely Detroit Public Schools which hasn't released formal plans of reopening, but intended to start in early or mid-March.

RELATED: Michigan restrictions will loosen in coming days, Whitmer says

While returning to some sense of normalcy can help with morale in a state exhausted by pandemic-induced rules and public health restrictions, there are ripple effects to getting kids back in the classroom.

Studies find that students learning from in-person instruction will do better academically than those learning remotely. Some districts like those under St. Clair County's Superintendent have seen a disparity in test scores and letter grades between kids in class and those learning remotely.

Officials have also identified increases in mental health issues in young kids isolated from friends and stuck at home. Several school districts in Michigan have reported student suicides that often became flashpoints in the debate over whether learning centers should be reopened.

RELATED: Detroit public schools is phasing back face-to-face learning

But the effects go beyond that - with kids at school, parents won't be pigeonholed into choosing whether to stay home or go to work. Those sorts of decisions have made the responsibilities of parenting harder.

Months ago, opening schools up was a debate over "if," especially in Detroit where the teachers union organized against the district and protested actions by the DPSCD to allow kids to return to in-person learning. 

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

While the EON/BAMN caucus - an advocacy group for Detroit schools - remains against any form of reopening, Detroit Public Schools have gradually reopened anyways. Learning Centers were reopened to kids that need the resources the most last week. 

However, with test positivity rates for COVID-19 well below 5% in the city, it appears likely the district will be reopening its doors within the next two weeks.