Rep. Andrea Schroeder today led Michigan House approval of a bipartisan plan helping students get back to school safely – with flexibility to allow in-person, online, or hybrid instruction methods based on local needs.
The plan, based on one originally introduced by Schroeder and legislative colleagues in June, is now headed to the governor for consideration.
The legislation will allow local school districts to determine the best course of action for their own students and families. In-person attendance is not state-mandated at any grade level, but it’s strongly encouraged for grades K-5 when it can be done safely. The plan also includes oversight measures to keep learning on track, and also provides additional financial support.
“As a mother and a former teacher, I approached this challenge with the best interests of children, families and educators at heart,” said Schroeder, of Oakland County’s Independence Township. “We must do all we can to protect the health of our students and everyone in our school communities. We must also ensure learning continues despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. I am confident this plan provides the flexibility, accountability and support to do just that.”
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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