Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 17, 2020
Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.
Schools in the state will have to follow strict safety measures for in-person learning.
A statement from Whitmer also announced that on June 30, she will release an executive order and document called “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” that will provide details on what will be required and what will be recommended for schools.
Whitmer said the need for support and flexibility from the federal government will help ensure resources for students and educators.
“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, those who have done their part to flatten the curve, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall. Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families. I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and leaders in health care to ensure we get this right, but we also need more flexibility and support from the federal government. This crisis has had serious implications on our budget, and we need federal support if we’re going to get this right for our kids.”
The Return to School plan will align closely with the MI Safe Start Plan, she said.
Whitmer said districts, students, staff, and families must be nimble and be prepared to move backwards if there is evidence of community spread of the virus.
“The most important thing we can do when developing a return to school plan is closely examine the data and remain vigilant in our steps to fight this virus,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I will continue to work closely with Governor Whitmer and the Return to Learn Advisory Council to ensure we continue to put the health and safety of our students and educators first. This is a big step, and we will remain flexible to protect everyone who steps foot in a Michigan school.”
The Roadmap will set the minimum health and safety requirements, although districts may choose to enact more aggressive ones in consultation with local public health officials.
These minimum requirements will apply to all schools, including traditional public, charter, private, and parochial schools.
On May 15, Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-88 creating the COVID-19 Return to School Advisory Council.
“The Advisory Council was created to identify the critical issues that must be addressed, provide valuable input to inform the process of returning to school, and to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school. The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the Governor and the COVID-19 Task Force on Education, and will develop and submit recommendations to the COVID-19 Task Force on Education regarding the safe, equitable, and efficient K-12 return to school in the Fall,” a statement from Whitmer said.