Rep. Andrea Schroeder today announced the Legislature and Gov. Whitmer have reached a bipartisan agreement to help get students safely back to school – whether it’s in-person, online, or a hybrid approach.
The plan, based on one originally introduced by Schroeder and legislative colleagues in June, will allow school districts to determine the best course of action for their own students and families. The measures include oversight to keep learning on track, and provide additional financial support. In-person attendance is not required at any grade level, but it’s strongly encouraged for grades K-5 when it can be done safely.
The Legislature is expected to vote on the plan over the next few days.
“How to best educate our children during the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge faced by schools and families in every Michigan community. This plan acknowledges that no two communities might address that challenge in exactly the same way, based on their unique circumstances,” said Schroeder, of Oakland County’s Independence Township. “I am pleased the governor and Legislature are coming to an agreement on how best to proceed with the all-important question of how to continue student learning during these unprecedented times.”
Highlights of the plan include:
- Local control. Working with local health departments, school districts will continue to decide the best approach for instruction based on the specific situations and needs within their own communities.
- Accountability and oversight. 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. Schroeder said this will give parents and others in the community a chance to voice concerns and spark modifications when necessary. Benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help to ensure they stay on track.
- Financial support. The Legislature already has approved a total of $583 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to be dedicated to Michigan schools, including $350 per student across the board, ensuring schools have the resources they need. The funding includes more than $50 million in hazard pay for educators who have been flexible and innovative during the COVID-19 pandemic, and $18 million for safety measures and benchmark assessments to ensure student learning stays on track.
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