$1.3 billion plan implements robust distance learning, safety measures
State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, today announced his support for a sensible and flexible plan helping to keep Michigan students safe as learning resumes in the fall.
The House-Senate plan, announced Tuesday during a Capitol press conference, requires local school districts and health departments to work together to develop health and safety standards that are best for their unique area.
“If we’ve learned anything from COVID-19, it’s that health and safety decisions should be made at the local level, not with sweeping statewide mandates,” LaFave said. “What’s safe for students in southeast Michigan isn’t the same as what’s best for students in the Upper Peninsula. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we are empowering our schools to work with their local health departments to establish protocols to ensure the safety of students and faculty. This is a tailored plan that allows U.P. schools to develop flexible learning plans that will help maximize student learning for the upcoming school year.”
Under the plan, school districts could start whenever is best for them without obtaining a waiver to bypass Michigan’s Labor Day start requirement. LaFave said this will provide schools the necessary flexibility to begin classroom instruction as safely as possible.
The Return to Learn plan also:
• Provides an $800 per pupil payment to K-12 schools to implement a robust distance learning plan and health and safety measures to return students safely to the classroom.
• Includes a $500 per teacher payment as hazard and overtime pay and to help cover costs incurred due to transitioning to distance learning teaching plans.
• Delivers $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools in coordinating and implementing distance learning plans and safety measures.
• Redefines the word “attendance” to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present,” allowing schools to be innovative and give students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom.
• Encourages the use of remote instruction when in-person instruction is unsafe or unsuitable. Moving forward, schools would be granted just two forgiven days of instruction per year.
• Utilizes benchmark assessments to provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help, ensuring kids do not fall behind in the wake of the public health crisis.
• Requires school districts to work with local health departments to establish safety requirements for extracurricular activities and sports in addition to regular school safety measures.
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