By Rep. Sarah Lightner of Springport
The fight against coronavirus continues on many fronts – and one of the areas where it has had the most dramatic impact is in our schools.
A new executive order – issued by the governor with bipartisan input from the Legislature – will keep schools closed for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year unless they are later deemed safe and can reopen. Meanwhile, districts will have several options to educate students remotely.
Remote learning programs must be approved by intermediate school districts or charter school authorizers. The plans could include online learning or a variety of other options including lessons via the phone or with materials sent through the mail.
A total of 24 instructional days will be forgiven, 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.
Seniors will graduate and students will advance to the next grade level if they were on track to do before school buildings were closed.
The changes will continue into the next academic year. 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.
This is difficult. This is challenging. But I know our local educators will rise to the challenge and help our kids continue to learn, because that is what they always do – in good times and tough times alike.
The bottom line: Our work continues to help protect the health and safety of all Michiganders, in schools and elsewhere in our communities.