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Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Alexander: Student safety top priority in Return to Learn plan
RELEASE|June 24, 2020

$1.3 billion plan implements safety measures and flexibility

State Rep. Julie Alexander, of Hanover, today announced her support for a practical and flexible plan that will ensure the safety of all Michigan students as learning recommences in the fall.

The House-Senate plan, announced this week 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 of the state.

“Many in the Jackson community are asking, ‘What will school look like this fall?’” Alexander said. “As a former teacher myself, and as a parent and grandmother, I understand how stressful the COVID-19 uncertainties have been.

“Our plan prioritizes the health and safety of our Jackson County students, teachers, and other staff members, as well as all those throughout the entire state. Schools deserve flexibility to begin instruction as quickly and as safely as possible while focusing on the core subject areas and unique needs of each student.”

Under the plan, school districts could start without obtaining a waiver to bypass Michigan’s Labor Day start requirement. Rep. Alexander said this will provide schools the necessary flexibility to begin classroom instruction as quickly and safely as possible.

“Our Jackson Community has found success in a common calendar; state government should not be placing burdensome regulations on our local schools,” Alexander said.

The Return to Learn plan also:

• Provides a $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.

• Limits the use of snow days to encourage 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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