State Rep. Mike Mueller, of Linden, has joined the Legislature in approving a bipartisan agreement to get K-12 students safely back to school this fall.
The plan, originally introduced by House and Senate lawmakers in June, will allow school districts to determine the best course of action for their students, be it online, in person, or hybrid instruction, based on consultations with local health departments.
“Local health department experts across our state know what’s best for the kids in their communities,” Mueller said. “This plan ensures schools can choose the best mode of instruction for their unique area. As a parent, my priority is keeping kids safe without jeopardizing their education. Utilizing innovative methods of instruction, we can all work together to achieve that goal.”
Mueller also said providing parents with the opportunity to voice their concerns is crucial to keep the school district and community informed of needed adaptations and hold locally elected officials accountable. Under the plan, school boards will be required to reexamine and recertify how they are delivering instruction to students at their monthly board meetings for the duration of the 2020-21 school year.
Additionally, local benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help to ensure they stay on track.
Mueller also acknowledged that younger students tend to learn better in classroom settings. Under the plan, if districts determine that it is safe to offer in-person learning, they are encouraged, but not required, to prioritize in-person instruction to K-5 students.
As the coming school year will also pose significant additional costs to school districts as they work to impose new safety standards and innovative teaching methods, the Legislature previously dedicated a total of $583 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to Michigan schools, including:
- $350 per student across the board, ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate children.
- More than $50 million in hazard pay for educators who have been flexible and innovative in the face of unprecedented change.
- $18 million for safety measures and local benchmark assessments to ensure kids stay on track with learning.
The House plan now advances to the governor’s desk for consideration.