Gov. Whitmer cancels in-person classes for the rest of the school year

FLUSHING/FLINT TWP. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has suspended face-to-face learning for Genesee County students, closing all K-12 buildings across the state for the rest of the school year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last Thursday, Whitmer signed an executive order to close all schools unless restrictions are lifted and is setting guidelines for remote learning for students at home.

Under Whitmer’s announced school closure, Genesee County high school seniors will be given the opportunity to graduate this year so that they may make a successful post-secondary transition.

Following the governor’s announcement, Flushing Community Schools Superintendent Tim Stein released a statement to parents to outline the district’s instructional plans moving forward.

“Our plan will assure all students receive instructional activities directed by their teachers, seniors will meet graduation requirements and no student in good standing will be held back due to this unprecedented event,” Stein said. “As we work to meet the state’s plan, we will be communicating with you frequently. Pending approval of our plan, our intention is to start the implementation process next week.”

Carman-Ainsworth Schools Superintendent Eddie Kindle said his district will soon communicate its plan for how it intends to move forward with the rest of the 2019-20 school year.

Last week Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an Executive Order suspending face-to-face instruction for the 2019-20 school year.

Kindle said Carman-Ainsworth schools are evaluating the Governor’s Executive Order and will be communicating their plan to parents to allow all students to receive an alternative mode of learning guided by their teachers.

Additionally, he said the district will continue to distribute student meals at Carman-Ainsworth High School and Carman-Ainsworth Middle School on Monday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

In preparation for the cancellation of in-person classes, Flushing schools conducted an online survey last week to see how many families in the district have access to the internet and/or internet capable devices at home.

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 was made available on 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. Each district must have its plan approved by their regional intermediate school district before being implemented. Districts can also partner with one another to create joint plans.

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. If any schools have unused personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies or other materials, they are allowed and 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. – Staff reports