Michigan governor closes K-12 schools for remainder of school year

NOW: Michigan governor closes K-12 schools for remainder of school year

LANSING — Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Thursday suspending all face-to-face learning at K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year.

The closure of school buildings will remain in place unless restrictions are lifted.

Whitmer said that district facilities may be used by public school employees and contractors for the purposes of facilitating distance learning while practicing social distancing.

The executive order also ensures that teachers and school employees will be paid for the remainder of the school year.

“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 in a press release. “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.”

The Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers are developing a Continuity of Learning Plan that schools will utilize to create a plan moving forward. 

If the plan relies on some online instruction, the district will have to ensure that every student has access to an “appropriate device with an ability to connect to the internet,” Whitmer said in the executive order.

Students and families will not be penalized if they are unable to participate in their school's alternate learning plan.

Schools will also continue to provide mental health care services to students during the closure.

School districts will continue to provide meals for families who need them. 

All Michigan high school seniors will be given the opportunity to graduate this year. 

In addition, all standardized tests previously scheduled for the remainder of the year, including the M-STEP and the SAT, will be canceled.

Rising high school seniors will have the opportunity to take the SAT in October.

The full executive order can be viewed on the state's website.

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