In today’s update:

  • Executive Order Offers Temporary Relief from Monthly Meeting Requirements for School Boards, Allow Electronic Public Meetings
  • MDE Hosting Food Distribution Town Hall Meeting Thursday
  • MDE Guidance on Transition to Online Learning
  • MDE Guidance on Use of Title Funds During School Closures
  • ORS to Provide Credit During School Closures
  • Inaction on Solution to Keep School Employees Paid and Have Days Forgiven
  • Secretary Benson Exploring Options for May Elections
  • Detroit PBS Kids Daily Newsletter with Educational Material
  • Compliance Requirements for Great Start Collaboratives, Parent Coalitions Funded Programs
  • Other
  • MASA COVID-19 Resource Center 

Executive Order Offers Temporary Relief from Monthly Meeting Requirements for School Boards, Allow Electronic Public Meetings

This evening, Gov. Whitmer signed an Executive Order to order a temporary relaxation of the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to conduct their meetings electronically, while also facilitating public participation, until April 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

The Executive Order also temporarily suspends a provision in the Revised School Code so as not to require school boards to hold meetings at least once each month.

Under Executive Order 2020-15, public bodies that are subject to the Open Meetings Act, including boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils, and nonprofit boards, can use telephone- or video- conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, so long as they follow certain procedures to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.

This has been a question many of our school boards have struggled with, so we are pleased to see this order come through.

MDE Hosting Food Distribution Town Hall Meeting Thursday

 Educators are invited to attend a virtual Town Hall Meeting at 2 p.m. on Thursday with MDE for an update on how school/community food distribution is going. There will be a chance for participants to ask questions and share thoughts and concerns.

Date:  Thursday, March 19, 2020
Time:  2:00 p.m.

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+1 248-509-0316   United States, Pontiac (Toll)

Conference ID: 906 407 927#

Local numbers | Reset PIN | Learn more about Teams | Meeting options

 MDE Guidance on Transition to Online Learning

MDE released a memo today regarding the potential transition to online learning when delivered to students as a full substitute for normal instructional delivery methods. MDE is preparing additional resources to support supplemental online learning

Only those districts and schools that can ensure that all students have equitable access to quality learning opportunities should pursue a full transition to online learning.

MDE Guidance on Use of Title Funds During School Closures

In response to inquiries regarding the use of Title Funds during school closures, MDE released a memo today clarifying how LEAs and PSAs can use these funding sources. Read the memo.

Notably, the memo states that LEAs may use federal fund to compensate employees who are currently paid from these sources.

ORS to Provide Credit During School Closures

The Office of Retirement Services sent a message to districts on Monday to say that it has been decided that members will still receive retirement credit during this time of school closures. Members should continue to report and make payments to ORS as usual according to their pay schedule.

If you need further assistance, contact ORS Employer Reporting at ORS_Web_Reporting@michigan.gov.

Inaction on Solution to Keep School Employees Paid and Have Days Forgiven

The legislature adjourned on Tuesday night without taking action on a bipartisan solution to keep school employees paid and forgive school districts for the days of education missed due to the ongoing school closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Michigan Education Association, AFT Michigan, Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators and Michigan Association of School Boards issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s adjournment without action on the issue:

“Over the past few days, our organizations — from both the labor and management sides of the education community — have worked together to find a legislative solution to ensure all school employees continue to be paid during this crisis. We agreed on an approach that would bring some certainty around pay and days/hours requirements to school districts and employees alike. These issues are interlinked and must be tackled together to address the needs of employees and districts, knowing that we will need to address the long-term needs of students when we know how long this crisis will last.

Read the full statement.

Secretary Benson Exploring Options for May Elections

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is exploring options to ensure that the May 5 elections can continue without putting public health at risk. She said all options are on the table, including voting by mail (please note districts would be responsible for the costs associated with those options). Districts that have a ballot question on the May 5th ballot have until 5:00PM Friday, March 20 to notify their clerk if they wish to alter that date.

Secretary Benson, the Bureau of Elections, and Gov. Whitmer and her administration continue to discuss how to move forward. Read the press release.

Detroit PBS Kids Daily Newsletter with Educational Material

Detroit PBS Kids is sending daily newsletters with learning resources for every grade level. Sign up to receive the daily newsletter and see the first few editions here.

Compliance Requirements for Great Start Collaboratives, Parent Coalitions Funded Programs

MDE is asking Great Start Collaboratives (GSC)  and Great Start Parent Coalitions (GSPC) to adhere to CDC guidance when deciding to cancel, postpone, or proceed as scheduled with events, trainings, and meetings in a memo released on Wednesday.

The memo also included guidance for home visitation services and/or playgroups.

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.