Return to Learn Virtual Cooperative: A Regional Collaboration for Remote Learning

Education leaders throughout the region have spent the past few months carefully researching and evaluating the best possible remote learning options for students and families who may prefer virtual instruction versus in-person instruction for part or all of the 2020-2021 school year. Commitments can be for a semester, trimester, or for the full school year depending on the home district schedule.

The cooperative will address Michigan K-12 academic standards by utilizing two learning systems to deliver a common curriculum. The University of Michigan Roadmaps program was selected for grades K-5 instruction and Michigan Virtual for grades 6-12 instruction. 

Utilizing both teaching platforms will provide some of the best online content available and will be taught by highly qualified, local teachers. We recognize there is comfort in knowing students are connected with teachers from their home district. Therefore, every effort will be made to keep students with teachers from their district. In the event a student is taught by a teacher outside of their district, the home district will provide the student with a home district mentor. ­­The mentor will play a role similar to a “homeroom teacher”. They will have access to student progress and will communicate and check-in with the student regularly.  

Teachers from participating school districts work together to deliver instruction in their area of qualification and expertise. Each teacher remains employed by their home school district and students remain enrolled in their home district. Students may participate in services and extracurricular programs offered in their home district, in accordance with their district policy.

We encourage all high school students to first focus on the Michigan Merit Curriculum core classes taught by local teachers and then take electives face-to-face when they return to in-person learning.  If an elective is required for graduation that a local teacher is not able to teach through Michigan Virtual, students will have the opportunity to enroll in the class with a Michigan Virtual teacher and a district mentor

For more information please contact your local school administrator.

This delivery system provides teacher-crafted learning activities, remote learning schedules and customizable daily plans. Remote learning schedules are easily adaptable to the needs of all learners and support text to speech instructions, video/audio response options, learning through multiple modalities, social and emotional learning activities, etc. Teachers can collaborate synchronously online as they plan, adapt and customize Roadmaps.

Local teachers will be trained by a team of University of Michigan partners and elementary teachers who have worked to develop Roadmaps. The training includes daily Zoom webinars.

Demonstration Video - 5th Grade Example


Michigan Virtual is a non-profit organization that has been delivering online training and courses for 20 years. Their Board of Directors consist of individuals representing the business, industry and education communities. Their collaborative partnership model allows Michigan school districts/counties to reduce the cost of delivering high-quality online learning experiences for their students.

Local teachers will be trained by Michigan Virtual staff in best practices for online instruction prior to delivering content. (Note: Students will not enroll on the Michigan Virtual website for their listed program options. Students will enroll through their local school/district for our specialized curricular program.)

Demonstration Video





  1. If a student starts virtual school and later decides it’s not the preferred way to learn, can they switch to in-person instruction before the term to which they have committed ends?
    • The length of commitment may be for a semester, trimester or school year, depending on the district’s policy. Requests for special accommodations should be made to district officials for consideration.
  2. Who will serve as the district mentor and what will their role be?
    • Multiple educators may be assigned by the students' local district as a mentor. Their mentor might be one of the student’s teachers, a guidance counselor, a media specialist, or an administrator. Mentors will stay in contact with students on a regular basis and play a role similar to a homeroom teacher. 
  3. If a district or school closes due to poor weather conditions, will students still follow their same class schedule?  
    • Yes, this is a benefit of virtual learning. Much of the learning is loaded into the platform and students may complete the work at their own pace. In fact, students could choose to accelerate their workload Monday through Thursday and have the flexibility of a lightened workload on Friday.
  4. Who should be contacted if a student becomes ill and can’t participate in classes, or needs to be dismissed for a non-school related event?
    • Always notify the home school or district when a student is ill. Much of the material is done at the students' pace so students are less impacted by these situations than if they attended school in-person.
  5. If a district or school closes due to COVID-related student or staff illness and/or Michigan is moved to Phase 1-3 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan, is this the learning platform all students will use?
    • Not at this point. We contracted with Michigan Virtual and Roadmaps to provide academic content for students who committed for an entire semester (or trimester) while other students are attending school face to face. In the event a school closes or we are moved to Phase 1-3, Districts have prepared their own online instruction in a way that best serves students.
  6. Can students attend Careerline Tech Center if they choose this online learning option? 
    • Each school district makes its own scheduling decisions regarding Careerline Tech Center enrollment. Please contact local school officials for information.
  7. Can students participate in advanced placement classes or an IB program?
    • Each school district makes its own scheduling decisions regarding advance placement and International Baccalaureate courses. Please contact local school officials for information.
  8. What supports are available for students with special learning needs?
    • Many, if not all, of the accommodations of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be met in the virtual learning environment, as appropriate. In some cases, the IEP Team will reconvene to determine how to best support the student.
  9. How might students without internet access or other required technology participate in this online learning option?
    • As part of the cooperative agreement for virtual learning, each district has agreed to offer and provide a device and internet access for those in need. Please contact local school officials for more information.
  10. Will students who typically receive meals at school be able to access meals if participating in this virtual learning program?
    • Participating schools and districts will provide meals for those who qualify. Please contact local school officials for information.