Author Archives: Scott Bolthouse

About Scott Bolthouse

Editor, Founder of www.HuronHub.com.

Whitmer cancels in-person classes at K-12 schools for remainder of school year


Posted by The Huron Hub
Thursday, April 2, 2020
10:22 AM EST

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-35 today, ordering all K-12 school buildings to close for the remainder of the school year, unless restrictions are lifted.

The order also lays out a plan for continuing learning by setting guidelines for remote learning.

District facilities can be used by public school employees and contractors for the purposes of facilitating learning at a distance while also practicing social distancing.

“My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19. For the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state, I have made the difficult decision to close our school facilities for the remainder of the school year,” Governor Whitmer said. “As a parent, I understand the challenge closing schools creates for parents and guardians across the state, which is why we are setting guidelines for schools to continue remote learning and ensuring parents have resources to continue their children’s education from the safety of their homes. There is no video chat or homework packet that can replace the value of a highly trained, experienced teacher working with students in a classroom, but we must continue to provide equitable educational opportunities for students during this public health crisis.”

Whitmer says the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers are currently developing a Continuity of Learning Plan template application for schools to utilize in order to create their localized plan.

The application will be made available by April 3. District plans will need to detail how districts will provide opportunities for students to learn remotely and how schools will manage and monitor their progress. It will also provide information on how parents and guardians can learn more about the local plan.

Whitmer said each district must have its plan approved by their regional intermediate school district before being implemented. Public school academies must have their plans approved by their authorizer. Districts can also partner with one another to create joint plans.

Every district’s plan will be different and will reflect what’s best and feasible for their community. A plan can include learning by any number of modes of instruction delivery, including a hybrid approach. However they are designed, districts must ensure their plans are appropriate, equitable and accessible for students and families.

If the plan relies on some online instruction, the district should ensure every student who needs it has access to an appropriate device with an ability to connect to the internet. Students and families will not be penalized if they are unable to participate in their alternate learning plan.

“Schools should continue to provide mental health care services for students, to the extent possible, and should be ready and willing to help efforts to establish disaster relief childcare centers. School districts will also continue to provide meals for families who need them during the COVID-19 crisis,” Whitmer said.

If any schools have unused personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies or other materials, they are encouraged to donate them to organizations that could put them to use.

School districts will have the flexibility to adopt a balanced calendar for the 2019-2020 school year and/or to begin the 2020-2021 school year before Labor Day without having to seek additional approval.

Teachers and school employees will be paid for the remainder of the school year. Student teachers will still be able to get a temporary certification and current teachers will still be able to get their certifications renewed, even if they can’t meet all the requirements due to COVID-19.

All Michigan high school seniors will be given the opportunity to graduate this year so that they may make a successful postsecondary transition. Additionally, all standardized tests previously scheduled for the remainder of the school year, including the M-STEP and the SAT, will be canceled. There will be a date in October for rising high school seniors to take the SAT and for other high school students to take the PSAT.

To view executive order 2020-35, click the link below:


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Trump approves Whitmer’s request for using Michigan National Guard for humanitarian purposes

Michigan National Guard members will distribute food and medical supplies, disinfect public spaces


Posted by The Huron Hub
Monday, March 30, 2020

President Trump on Monday authorized the use of National Guard members in Michigan, granting Governor Whitmer’s request for a formal request to allocate and order up to 3,000 members of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard for up to 90 days to perform humanitarian missions across the state.

Michigan’s National Guard, under Governor Whitmer’s command and control, will perform humanitarian missions across the state, such as helping run mobile screening facilities, distributing food and medical supplies, ensuring resiliency of supply lines, disinfecting public spaces, and supporting public safety when required.

“This is good news for Michiganders everywhere who are worried about COVID-19’s impact on their community,” said Governor Whitmer. “Now, our dedicated National Guardsmen and women can help ensure access to meals for families who need them, or medical supplies for our health care professionals. They’ll help us get Michiganders tested and keep our public places clean. I’m happy that the federal government granted this request, and will continue to work closely with them as we slow the spread of COVID-19 together.”

“The Michigan National Guard is ready and eager to assist Governor Whitmer as she works to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state,” said Major General Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Our number one priority is protecting Michigan families from harm, and the federal government’s action today will help us do just that. We look forward to working closely with the governor to ensure our families are protected during this crisis.”

Governor Whitmer first requested Title 32 authorization on March 18. The president granted to governor’s request after she sent a letter earlier today to U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outlining how Michigan meets required criteria for approval to utilize 32 U.S.C. §502(f) in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The use of federal funding for Title 32 will not federalize command of the activated National Guard personnel. Each state’s National Guard is still under the authority of the Governor and is working in concert with the Department of Defense.


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Huron STEM teacher uses 3D printer to make face shield components for healthcare workers

Andrew Knapik, STEM teacher at Renton Junior High in New Boston, is using equipment from the school’s lab to print head pieces that will be used to make full face shields. The completed shields will then be distributed to healthcare workers in Monroe County. (Photos courtesy of Andrew Knapik)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 30, 2020

Across the country, communities are pulling together to supply healthcare workers with the essential items they need to treat patients with COVID-19.

Andrew Knapik, STEM teacher at Renton Junior High School in New Boston, said it was a text message from a colleague that was the catalyst for using equipment from the school’s lab to make head pieces for face shields that, in turn, will be distributed to healthcare workers.

“A text from Renton Junior High bands teacher Brenda Bressler put this into motion. Bressler shared a Facebook post of Monroe High School teacher Kyle Reed helping to organize those in the area with 3D printers to help print materials needed to make PPE face shields for local healthcare professionals,” Knapik said.

Renton Junior High’s STEM lab has three 3D printers, Knapik said, and both he and Bressler knew they could be used to help out.

After getting permission from Donovan Rowe, superintendent of Huron Schools, Knapik said a quick effort was made to open the school and get the printers and other supplies needed so he could begin work at home.

Knapik then setup a work station right in his dining room, and after getting some tech support from the maker of the printer, he was ready to go.

“Each headpiece takes between four and five hours to print,” Knapik said. “The head pieces will then be delivered to Monroe High School, where other volunteers will work to mount shields to the head piece.”

Once the face shields are complete, they will be distributed to healthcare workers in Monroe County.


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Endangered missing person alert issued for father, son last seen at Lake Erie Marina

Justin and Jaxon Oaks were last seen near the area of the Downriver Marina boat launch on Sunday. After launching their boat, they did not return to their vehicle, which was found parked at the Downriver Marina boat launch with an empty boat trailer attached to it.


Posted by The Huron Hub
Monday, March 30, 2020
11:15 AM EST

South Rockwood, Monroe County — On March 29 at 5:15 p.m., Michigan State Police troopers from the Monroe post were dispatched to the Downriver Marina in South Rockwood in reference to two missing fisherman.

Troopers learned that at 9:50 a.m., 29-year-old Justin Oaks took his 6-year-old son, Jaxon Oaks, went fishing in the Huron River between Lake Erie and the I-75 overpass. Investigation determined that the last contact with Justin was via text message at approximately 11:58 a.m. on March 29.

According to family, Justin would have frequent contact via cell phone with family and friends while fishing but he stopped replying to texts and answering his phone after that last known contact. Justin and Jaxon did not return to their vehicle which was found parked at the Downriver Marina boat launch with an empty boat trailer attached to it.

Authorities were first contacted at approximately 4:37 p.m. and the United States Coast Guard subsequently began search efforts. An extensive search was conducted with assistance from the United States Coast Guard, the Michigan DNR, the Brownstown Police and Fire Departments, the Rockwood Police and Fire Departments and the Flat Rock Police and Fire Departments.

After exhausting all available search and rescue resources and abilities, the search was discontinued at approximately 12:00 a.m. on March 30.

The Michigan State Police Dive Team will be resuming search efforts on March 30. The boat that Justin and Jaxon were fishing in, is a camo colored 1996 Grumman 14-foot aluminum duck boat with hull #0MCL2931C696.

Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact the Michigan State Police Monroe Post at 734-242-3500.


 

Whitmer announces programs to expand unemployment benefits for all workers affected by COVID-19

Getty images

Posted by The Huron Hub
Monday, March 20, 2020

-Benefits increased for all unemployed workers

-Benefits expanded to self-employed and low-wage workers

-New filing schedule implemented for those applying

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday announced new programs for workers affected by COVID-19.

The governor, under the federal CARES Act, signed an agreement between Michigan and the U.S. Dept. of Labor to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs that grant benefits to workers who do not already qualify for state unemployment benefits. Workers include self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of the pandemic. The agreement also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week for up to four months and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks.

“The State of Michigan is dedicated to implementing measures to protect the health of all our residents and we understand financial health is critical as we meet this challenge together,” said Whitmer. “This increase and expansion of unemployment benefits will provide a measure of security for Michigan working families who lost their income due to the pandemic. We are committed to ensuring emergency financial relief for unemployed residents who continue to stay home and stay safe.”

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) will provide additional guidance regarding eligibility and application details in the coming days as it implements these new programs.

Benefits Extended to Self-Employed, Low-Wage, and Other Workers Affected by COVID-19
Under the CARES Act, individuals who are not already eligible for Michigan’s unemployment programs will now be provided a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months on top of the state benefit. Benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. These newly eligible individuals include self-employed workers, independent contractors, low-wage workers and those with a limited work history.

Benefits Increased for All Unemployed Workers
Under the CARES Act, weekly benefits for all unemployed workers will be increased by a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months. This applies to workers already in the unemployment system and eligible employees about to apply. These workers do not need to reapply and those about to apply do not need to take additional steps and should file as usual. If a worker’s application has previously been denied by the UIA in the past three weeks there is no need for them to reapply at this time. They will be notified by the agency with any additional action that may need to be taken.

“We appreciate the patience Michigan residents have shown with the unemployment system over the last few weeks as we continue to provide emergency financial assistance during this historical demand. I want to assure every eligible worker in our state who needs to apply for unemployment benefits that they will receive them,” said Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “We continue to urge workers to apply online at Michigan.gov/UIA and to utilize our new filing schedule based on their last name. UIA staff is working as hard and fast as they can to process claims and we continue to reallocate resources and upgrade technology to serve our customers.”

The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether a worker receives benefits or their benefit amount. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19. The eligibility window to apply has also been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of their work stoppage.

New Filing Schedule:

Online Filing Schedule – Michigan.gov/UIA. Workers are encouraged to go online during off-peak times between 8PM-8AM

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  • Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Call Center Filing Schedule – 866-500-0017:

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Fridays (8:00am – 5:00pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

For more information visit Michigan.gov/UIA.


 

Wayne County COVID-19 report for March 29


Posted Sunday, March 29, 2020

Here are the latest COVID-19 stats for Wayne County (excluding Detroit) as of today. Note that Huron Township now has 5 total confirmed cases, up 4 from yesterday.


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Waste Management suspends yard waste, bulk collection until further notice

File photo/Waste Management


Posted by The Huron Hub
Sunday, March 29, 2020

Waste Management said it is suspending all yard waste and bulk collection in Michigan until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Regular trash collection and recycling will continue as normal.

Here is a statement from the company:

“Effective immediately, Waste Management is temporarily suspending bulk collection, e.g., furniture, mattresses, appliances, toilets until further notice. Additionally we are delaying the start of our yard waste collection season. We are taking these steps to free up our personnel and equipment to keep up with the increasing amount of residential solid waste that is being generated at this time. Our first priority is to make sure we have capacity available to perform the essential services of municipal solid waste and recycling collection and disposal.”

The company said it will continue monitoring the current public health emergency, and that they will return to regular service when “the situation normalizes.”

Keep up-to-date on Waste Management’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak by visiting this link.


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.