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Rep. Huizenga hails Return to Learn plan for localized approach, emphasis on student safety
RELEASE|June 23, 2020
Contact: Mark Huizenga

$1.3 billion plan implements robust distance learning, safety measures

State Rep. Mark Huizenga, of Walker, 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.

“This is a tailored plan that will suit each individual district as they work to protect students and advance their learning as COVID-19 continues,” Huizenga said. “As we’ve seen in data from the public health crisis, different areas of the state are being impacted in different ways. This will task school districts and public health departments with utilizing that data to make a decision that is safe and sensible for the area.”

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 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.
  • 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 plan will be referred to the House Education Committee for consideration later this week.

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