Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Farrington hails Return to Learn plan for localized approach, emphasis on student safety
RELEASE|June 23, 2020

$1.3 billion plan implements robust distance learning, safety measures

State Rep. Diana Farrington, of Utica, today applauded a newly unveiled plan that helps ensure the safety of Michigan students as learning resumes this fall.

The joint House-Senate proposal was announced this morning during a press conference at the Capitol. It requires school districts and health departments to work together to develop health and safety standards that are best for a particular area.

“Local school districts know what’s best for their students, and local health departments know how COVID-19 is impacting their area,” Farrington said. “Together, they’re going to be able to formulate a better approach than what the state would be attempting to manage from Lansing. This plan lends support to those efforts, as we remain committed to providing resources that help educate our future generations.”

School districts will be allowed to start whenever is best for them without obtaining a waiver to bypass Michigan’s Labor Day start requirement.

The Return to Learn plan:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The proposals will be referred to the House Education Committee for consideration later this week.

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