Whitmer not planning to change guidance for school reopening plans

Schools are required to submit their reopening plans to the state by Friday
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 1:25 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - As school districts around Mid-Michigan juggle their reopening schedules and plans, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn’t planning any changes to the statewide guidance for administrators.

The state laid out a variety of recommendations and expectations for schools on June 30. Whitmer said she will continue allowing administrators to work within that framework to determine the best plan for their individual districts based on their unique situations.

The more than 800 public school districts in Michigan have varying amounts of physical space in their buildings to allow social distancing and different circumstances for deploying remote or virtual learning opportunities. So Whitmer said a one-size-fits-all state mandate for schedules and plans wouldn’t be best.

However, she remains committed to making sure Michigan’s 1.5 million kindergarten through 12th grade students get an education beginning this fall, whether it takes place inside a classroom or online at home.

“Our kids need to get an education,” Whitmer said.

In-person classes are allowed for any region in Michigan at Phase 4 or higher in the MI Safe Start plan, which currently includes the entire state. The MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap includes recommendations and requirements for things like wearing face masks, sanitizing spaces and coronavirus screening.

All public school districts in Michigan are required to submit their plans for reopening under the coronavirus guidelines by Friday. State regulators will review the plans for each district and provide approval or ask for changes.

Addressing concerns about students wearing masks or face coverings for most of the school day, Whitmer called on adults to model good behavior by wearing one. She pointed out children in other countries are required to wear masks, as well.

“Kids of all ages are adapting,” she said.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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