Rep. Leutheuser: Coronavirus closes school buildings, but options remain for educating students remotely

Categories: Leutheuser News

A bipartisan agreement was reached between the Legislature and the governor that will allow for several remote education options while keeping school buildings closed and students and faculty safe, Rep. Eric Leutheuser of Hillsdale said today.

The agreement crafted between the Legislature and Gov. Whitmer is reflected in a new executive order. All public and private school buildings will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year — unless they are later deemed safe and can be reopened.

“Without a doubt, this new executive order puts top priority on keeping people healthy and lessening the spread of the coronavirus – and that is exactly where the focus should be,” Leutheuser said. “The order also acknowledges that education is important and should continue even while the state is under ‘stay home’ orders. I know the excellent educators and parents of Branch and Hillsdale counties will come together to help our students as best they can during this challenging time.”

The new executive order forgives a total of 24 instructional days, including snow days currently allowed under state law. School districts are required to use resources from days that have been waived to ensure all hourly and contracted employees are fully compensated.

Remote learning programs must be approved by intermediate school districts or charter school authorizers. This plan recognizes that each school district is unique and allows for them to adopt a plan that best fits their students’ needs.

Seniors will graduate, and students will advance to the next grade level if they were on track to do before school buildings were closed.

School districts will be allowed to begin the 2020-2021 school year in August, prior to the Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday, to make up for time out of school this year.