Gov. Whitmer closes schools for rest of the school year

GENESEE COUNTY — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this morning 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.

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

The View Newspapers and Davison Index will localize this breaking and developing story as it impacts Genesee County school districts.

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.

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. 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.