School days to be waived, hourly workers to be fully compensated
State Rep. Kathy Crawford, of Novi, today announced the Legislature has reached a bipartisan agreement with the governor regarding education response in the wake of school closures brought on by coronavirus.
The agreement closes all public and private school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year unless they are later deemed safe. It also forgives 15 days of instruction beyond the nine snow days currently allowed under state law. School districts are required to use resources from days that have been waived to ensure all hourly and contracted employees are fully compensated.
“Given the unique situation of the public health emergency we find ourselves in, as a state and local community, it’s important we work together to adapt to the challenge before us and craft unique solutions to proceed forward through this difficult time,” Crawford said. “That includes addressing the ever-growing concerns over education by Oakland County families, educators and students. While the decision to suspend in-person instruction in all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year was a difficult one, it was necessary. In unprecedented times like these, the health and safety of Michigan residents are absolutely paramount.”
To allow for home-learning options, school districts are granted a waiver from requiring students to be physically in their school buildings. Education plans should try to address the needs of all students including special education and students who lack access to technology.
“I have received hundreds of detailed correspondences from community members both for and against the closure of K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year,” Crawford said. “No matter where you fall on this spectrum, the agreement between the governor and the Legislature strikes a good balance. Oakland County school districts will have enough flexibility to create thorough at-home learning programs that are tailored to students’ needs to ensure learning is still front and center outside of the classroom.”
Crawford also said school districts will be allowed to begin the 2020-2021 school year in August, prior to the Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday, to make up for unfortunate learning loss that has resulted from the time out of school this year.
“This is not a perfect solution,” Crawford said. “A great deal of clarity will be needed from the governor regarding many lingering concerns over the planning and implementation of remote learning, additional training for educators adapting to remote teaching, the amount of flexibility and leverage school districts have to administer these learning programs, and guidance for parents as they navigate how to fill the role of educators at home. The continuity of education must be a priority, and I remain confident in our school officials, educators and parents in Oakland County to meet the educational needs of their students during these trying times.”
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