$1.3 billion plan implements robust distance learning, safety measures
State Rep. Daire Rendon, of Lake City, today announced her support for a common-sense plan that will help to keep Michigan students safe as learning resumes in the fall.
The House-Senate plan, announced this morning during a Capitol news conference, requires local school districts and health departments to work together to develop health and safety standards that are best for their unique area.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that the virus has affected communities across the state differently,” Rendon said. “For example, we have been fortunate to not face nearly as many cases up north as families faced downstate.
“There is no one-size-fits all to reopening our schools – we must allow our parents, teachers and students to have a voice and work with their local health departments to develop safety standards and practices.”
Under the plan, school districts could start whenever is best for them without obtaining a waiver to bypass Michigan’s Labor Day start requirement. Rendon said this will provide schools the necessary flexibility to begin classroom instruction as quickly and safely as possible.
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 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 of 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.
“Allowing our local schools the ability to develop flexible learning plans for the upcoming school year will maximize student learning while keeping our children safe,” Rendon said.
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“The Legislature and governor must work together for the people of Michigan as we continue to fight through this pandemic,” Rendon said. “Our families deserve much better results than they’ve received and full transparency. The measures approved by the House are a strong step toward the continued safe, practical reopening of Northern Michigan and the entire state.”