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Rep. Sheppard backs plan emphasizing safe return to school for Michigan students
RELEASE|August 17, 2020

State Rep. Jason Sheppard 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.

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. 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.

“Our main focus must be on a safe return to school,” said Sheppard, of Temperance. “This plan empowers local school districts to work with doctors, so they can make informed decisions and find an approach to learning that works for students, teachers and families in their community. It also provides the support and accountability needed to make sure students are getting the best education possible in the COVID-19 era.”

Sheppard also said providing parents with the opportunity to voice their concerns is crucial to keep the school district and community informed of needed adaptations and hold locally elected officials accountable. 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, benchmark assessments will provide detailed information to parents and teachers about where a student needs additional help to ensure they stay on track.

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 previously 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 consideration.

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