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Rep. Frederick backs plan emphasizing safe return to school for Michigan students
RELEASE|August 17, 2020
Contact: Ben Frederick

State Rep. Ben Frederick today joined the Legislature in approving a bipartisan agreement to help get Michigan students safely back to school – whether it’s in-person, online or a hybrid approach.

Frederick, of Owosso, said the plan will allow school districts to work with local health experts and determine the best course of action for students, teachers and families in their communities. While in-person attendance is not required at any grade level, it’s strongly encouraged particularly for grades K-5 when it can be done safely.

“The emphasis of this plan worked out between the Legislature and Governor Whitmer is on providing the resources, guidance and flexibility Michigan schools need to get students back to their schoolwork safely,” Frederick said. “As a parent with special needs children, I have been particularly appreciative of the exhaustive work which has been done by our local districts on behalf of our students. Within this bipartisan plan, each school district continues to be empowered to determine the process that works best for their community based on input from doctors, educators and parents.”

Frederick said providing parents with the opportunity to voice their concerns is crucial to keep the school district and community informed of needed adaptations and outcomes. Under the plan, school boards will reexamine and recertify how their districts deliver instruction to students at monthly board meetings for the duration of the 2020-21 school year. Additionally, locally-determined benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help with remediation a widely expected necessity following the interruption in educational offerings in recent months.

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 dedicated a total of $583 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to Michigan schools, including:

  • An additional $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 plan now advances to the governor’s desk for an expected signature.

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