Online and distance learning methods will continue student development
State Rep. Mark Huizenga, of Walker, today reacted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to suspend in-person K-12 education for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to coronavirus outbreak in Michigan.
“It is paramount to keep people safe during this public health emergency, and a unique situation calls for unique solutions,” Huizenga said. “Our children must continue to grow and learn. We have seen confirmed cases continue to rise each day and it is clear we will not be able to have our kids and staff back in school given the rate of spread.”
The governor’s order also keeps all K-12 buildings closed indefinitely, but leaves open the possibility of in-person learning resuming for the current school year if the situation improves and restrictions are scaled back.
In the meantime, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers are currently developing a learning plan template application for schools – who will then be tasked with crafting localized curriculums.
The plans tailored by districts must detail the opportunities for remote learning for their students and how that progress will be monitored. Each district must have its plan approved by their regional intermediate school district before being implemented. Public school academies must have their plans approved by an authorizer. Districts can also work with one another to create joint plans.
The order provides the flexibility to adopt a balanced calendar for the 2019-20 school year and begin the 2020-21 school year before Labor Day without a waiver, if districts wish to pursue that option. Huizenga commended the governor for underscoring pay for teachers for the remainder of the school year and easing certain requirements for certification renewals and attainments.
“We will adapt and rise to the great challenge we face,” Huizenga said. “Michigan has some of the most talented and dedicated teachers in the nation, and it’s important to make sure we support our educators as we proceed forward in this crisis. Continuing education must be a priority, and I have supreme confidence in our local school districts in the greater Grand Rapids area to meet the educational needs of their students.”
Huizenga said his office is a resource for anyone who has questions on the latest directive. The office can be reached by phone at (517) 373-8900 or email at MarkHuizenga@house.mi.gov.