Governor Whitmer Releases Return to School Plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her return to school plan Tuesday afternoon.

It includes restrictions schools must follow to safely get students back into their classrooms.

The MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap is intended to help districts create local plans for in-person learning in the fall.

She also signed an executive order that requires school districts to adopt a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan laying out how they will protect students and educators across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan.

The roadmap offers guidelines as to the types of safety policies and protocols that will be required or recommended at each phase.

The MI Safe Schools Roadmap includes guidance of PPE use, good hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting, spacing in classrooms, screening for symptoms, and athletics. Rules for physical/social distancing and mask-wearing will be different depending on the age of the students, and the phase of the pandemic in your school district.

In Traverse City, TCAPS Interim Superintendent Jim Pavelka says, “We have plans in place for every one of the different programs that she wants to have a road map for her. Face-to-face, a blended hybrid, and a total virtual. We have plans in place for that. I’m sure that after reading the document will have to make modifications.” Pavelka has also seen studies that suggest some parents may not want to send their students back to class with any restrictions, and may instead prefer to keep their students home. “We did a survey earlier, a couple of months ago, and it was around 10% so we are planning for that 10%, if they do not want to come back, we will have a virtual high quality program in place for them.”

Pavelka says a split schedule that sends students to school in smaller groups on alternating days is the least favorable option. He says he doesn’t see that working well for working parents and childcare concerns, although they have set that schedule up for high school students as a possibility.

The governor’s plan for this school year comes after her office and state legislative leaders agreed on a plan to address Michigan’s budget shortfall.

You can read the full MI Safe Schools Roadmap here.

Categories: Coronavirus