Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today (April 2) signed an executive order officially suspended face-to-face learning at Michigan K-12 school buildings for the remainder of the school year, unless restrictions are lifted, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Gov. Whitmer also set guidelines for remote learning and has given schools the option to use “public school employees and contractors for the purposes of facilitating learning at a distance while also practicing social distancing,” according to a statement.
All Michigan high school seniors will be given the opportunity to graduate this year, according to officials.
“My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “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.”
She added, “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.”
As for distance learning, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers are developing a Continuity of Learning Plan template application for schools to create their own unique plan.
“Every district’s plan will be different and will reflect what’s best and feasible for their community,” according to a release.
Teachers and school employees will be paid for the rest of the school year. Student teachers will be able to get a temporary certification, and current teachers can get their certifications renewed, even if they’re unable to meet all the requirements because of COVID-19.
Schools may also have the choice to create a “balanced calendar” for the 2019-2020 school year or start the 2020-2021 school year before Labor Day without having to get additional approval.
All standardized tests previously set for the remainder of the school year 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, according to officials.
For the full executive order, go here.