On Wednesday, Governor Whitmer signed an Executive Order requiring every school district in Michigan to develop and adopt a plan based on several public health scenarios. Each plan is required to follow details outlined in the MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap which was created by the Return to Schools Advisory Council and the COVID-19 Task Force on Education.
The Roadmap details requirements for PPE, hygiene, cleaning, spacing in classrooms, screening for symptoms, and athletics among other things. It is divided up into required, strongly recommended, and recommended practices. Required safety protocols must be implemented by all schools that serve students in grades preK – 12.
Four scenarios were presented in the Roadmap based on which phase of the MI Safe Start Plan a region is in when the Fall 2020 school year starts.
- Schools open for in-person instruction with minimal required safety protocols (MI Safe Start Phase 6)
- Schools open for in-person instruction with moderate required safety protocols (MI Safe Start Phase 5).
- Schools open for in-person instruction with more stringent required safety protocols (MI Safe Start Phase 4).
- Schools do not open for in-person instruction and instruction is provided remotely (MI Safe Start Phases 1-3).
Schools are not permitted to provide in-person instruction of any kind in their region if they are within Phase 1-3 of the pandemic, and all athletics are suspended. Remote learning would be activated, and technology support would be required for students and teachers. In-person instruction can resume during Phase 4, and most safety protocols are required until a region reaches Phase 5 and strongly recommended until a region reaches Phase 6.
Michigan is currently in Phase 4, which means the state can begin in-person instruction with more stringent safety protocols if nothing changes between now and fall. Protocols include face coverings for all staff and students (except during meals), access to supplies and encouragement of proper to hygiene, screening students & staff for COVID-19 under cooperation with the local health department (along with responding to positive results), prohibiting indoor assemblies, and other requirements for transportation, athletics, and protecting medically vulnerable students and staff.
$256 million in new funding is being provided to implement school safety measures.
You can read the full MI Safe Schools Roadmap <HERE>
Reporting for WGRT – Jessie Wiegand