In today’s update:

  • Call to Action
  • State Education Leaders Urge National Waiver of State Assessments
  • MDE to Request Waivers for Child Nutrition, Emergency Food Assistance, and Commodity Supplemental Food Programs
  • Map Available to Find Meals for Children During School Closure
  • Head Start Agency Requirements
  • Whitmer Orders Smaller Gatherings
  • #SchoolsGetItDone Campaign
  • AASA Survey
  • MASA COVID-19 Resource Center

Call to Action

We need your help! We ask that you reach out to lawmakers and ask them to work on legislation that counts these days of mandated closure as days of instruction. We don’t need a complicated fix, the solution is simple.

Contact your lawmakers and ask them to act on the School Aid Supplemental bill and include relief for the days and hours requirement for the days that school districts have been ordered closed by the governor.

State Education Leaders Urge National Waiver of State Assessments  

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice and State Board of Education President Dr. Casandra Ulbrich today wrote a letter to Secretary DeVos asking for federally mandated state testing to be waived this year in order to focus on the more immediate needs of children. A copy of their letter is available online.

Michigan’s annual M-Step tests are scheduled to begin the week of April 13 and run through May 28.

Dr. Rice noted, “When we return to school, the focus should be on tending to children’s immediate needs: physical, socioemotional, and academic. In many cases, children will have experienced trauma. In other cases, they will simply need to be re-acclimated into their schools. In all cases, students will have missed instruction, and this lost instruction will render any conclusions about test results dubious, especially any comparisons across school years and in light of the pending public health concerns of parents, students, and staff.”

Dr. Rice said he will also work with state legislators to waive the requirements in state law to administer the M-Step tests.

Read the Joint Statement from MAISA, MASA, MASB, MASSP, MSBO State Testing Mandate Waiver from the USDOE.

MDE to Request Waivers for Child Nutrition, Emergency Food Assistance, and Commodity Supplemental Food Programs

Today, MDE announced that it will request a series of federal waivers of statutory and regulatory requirements in child nutrition, emergency food assistance, and commodity food programs, in accordance with federal guidance.

MDE is requesting waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on:

  • The Child Nutrition Program on behalf of all sponsors determined to be in good standing in the state of Michigan;
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), on behalf of all TEFAP-eligible recipient agencies (ERAs) determined to be in good standing in the state of Michigan; and
  • The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) on behalf of all local agencies determined to be in good standing in the state of Michigan.

Read the press release for more details about these programs and the waivers MDE is seeking.

Map Available to Find Meals for Children During School Closure

MDE has created an online map for families to find locations where meals are being provided during this period of school closures due to COVID-19. The map can be found at: www.michigan.gov/meetupeatup, and will be updated twice each day during the closure period.

Head Start Agency Requirements

The federal Office of Head Start is advising Head Start grantees to coordinate with local health authorities and implement their existing policies and procedures related to closure of Head Start and Early Head Start centers during infectious disease outbreaks. Read the press release from MDE here.

Whitmer Orders Smaller Gatherings 

Gov. Whitmer on Monday night signed an executive order prohibiting events over 50 people or assemblages in shard indoor spaces over 50 people, beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. This corresponds with the CDC’s most recent guidance.

The new restriction will last until April 5, 2020 at 5 p.m. 

#SchoolsGetItDone Campaign 

Across the state educators are doing incredible work to make sure that all of our students are cared for while schools are closed. MASA staff have seen these feats shared on social media during the past few days, and have been sharing them as we are able.

We’d love to see more of what you are doing to keep students supported!

Share what your district is doing to meet student needs during the COVID-19 closures by using the hashtag #SchoolsGetItDone on Facebook and Twitter and tag us @MASASupts.

Not active on social media? Send your photos to Haley Jones at hjones@gomasa.org, and we may share your photos on the MASA accounts.

AASA Seeks Data on District Response, Needs Regarding COVID-19

AASA, the national superintendent’s association, is working to document school district responses to COVID-19 and district needs as this unprecedented event carries on. They have created a survey that will be used to gauge how school districts are responding to the virus, describe how ed-technology is helping or impeding the ability to deliver curriculum and instruction, and detail the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s public school systems. Please take a few moments to complete this brief survey.

Other

Know that members have asked many questions about childcare programs, Title I funding, spring break, open meetings, food services, etc. The big question is the forgiveness of days that districts will be closed. MASA, MASB, labor leaders, and lawmakers are working on a solution and will share that with you as soon as we have something definitive to share.

We continue to work closely with state agencies to track down information and answers. Please continue to pass along your questions to contacts at MASA and we will reach out to the appropriate officials and agencies to track down answers as soon as we can. Please know that while schools might be closed to children, MASA staff are working diligently to keep you informed.

MASA COVID-19 Resource Center

As a reminder, please visit MASA’s COVID-19 Resource Center for the latest information and resources to help during this period of time.