In today’s update:
- MASA, MAISA, and MASB Call on Gov. Whitmer, Legislature to Provide Clarity on What is Next for Michigan’s Children
- MDE to Request Federal Waiver for Child Nutrition Programs
- MDE Says Food Service to Children Continues Through “Stay Home” Order
- State Seeks Donations
- Earn SCECH Credits with MASA Microcredentials
- MASA COVID-19 Resource Center
MASA, MAISA, and MASB Call on Gov. Whitmer, Legislature to Provide Clarity on What is Next For Michigan’s Children
The executive directors of MASA, MAISA, and MASB released the following statement today regarding COVID-19 School Closures and Certainty for Educators, Students, and Families:
“Today we call on state officials including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice, the Legislative Quadrant, and state lawmakers to immediately provide clarity to Michiganders on what’s next for our children. Further delay creates uncertainty for countless communities across our state.
We urge the state to immediately move to waive days of instruction that fell during the mandated period of closure from March 16 through April 13, 2020, and develop a clear framework and plan to guide districts in educating children through a statewide seat-time waiver going forward. This framework must acknowledge the incredible disparities that exist between communities related to technology, access to broadband, and other resources while clearly identifying methods in which districts will be able to provide quality instruction in a variety of ways, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
We recognize that there are legitimate health and safety reasons why the Legislature is unable to meet, and to that end, encourage the Quadrant to work closely with the Executive Branch to address these concerns.
We further urge Gov. Whitmer to, within the next week, determine whether a longer-term closure will be necessary so that district leaders and families may begin to prepare to implement plans for the long-term education of children away from the classroom.
We stand ready to support our state leaders in any way possible to ensure every child continues to learn while our state faces this unprecedented challenge.”
MDE to Request Federal Waiver for Child Nutrition Programs
Today, MDE announced in a press release that it will request a federal waiver of statutory and federal requirements in the Child Nutrition Programs in accordance with federal guidance.
The waiver would allow MDE to maximize the reimbursement rates to support increased menu, supply, transportation, and labor options for sponsors that may be experiencing a disruption in access to food and other resources during this difficult time.
MDE is requesting the waiver on behalf of all Child Nutrition Program sponsors determined to be in good standing in the state of Michigan.
MDE is preemptively seeking the discretion to reimburse all U. S. Department of Agriculture Unanticipated School Closure Summer Food Service Program meals at the self-preparation or rural rate for all Child Nutrition Program sponsors continuing to serve meals that have been affected by the state of emergency.
MDE Says Food Service to Children Continues Through “Stay Home” Order
In a news release from the State Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday, MDE reiterated that school meals will continue to be served to Michigan children throughout the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order declared by Gov. Whitmer.
“Families will still be able to access meals for their children through this challenging time,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “I thank all of the school employees and volunteers for continuing their commitment to feeding the children of our state. Ensuring Michigan’s children continue to get the food they need every day is vitally important.”
The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order makes specific allowances for food and agriculture work to continue. This includes food service operations at schools, childcare institutions and centers, and emergency feeding operations across the state.
School meals will continue to be provided by school districts currently doing so until further notice. Over 1,400 school meal sites around the state can be found at Meet Up and Eat Up Site Locator Map.
State Seeks Donations
The State of Michigan is collecting and managing financial, material, and in-kind donations to be used to meet the most pressing needs of Michigan residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All donations will be tracked by the Michigan Community Service Commission, the state’s lead agency on volunteerism.
Donations will support the delivery of critical community-based services and interventions that address and mitigate the impacts created by COVID-19.
Material donations needed include:
- Hospital gowns
- Sanitizer (hand/wipe)
- Surgical Masks
- Maksa N95-N100
- No-touch thermometer
Donations and questions can be directed to the Michigan Community Service Commission firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 335-4295.
Earn SCECH Credits with MASA Microcredentials
If you are looking for ways to earn SCECHs or renew your Administrator Certificate during school closures, register for one of MASA’s Microcredentials. Microcredentials allow superintendents and central office administrators to gain the training they need – and up to 30 SCECHs – to become leaders in their field, while mastering 21st Century skills.
In order to help educators keep their costs down, MASA is offering these courses at a reduced fee of $250(compared to $500).
MASA has partnered with Michigan Virtual to bring microcredentials to MASA members, and they are available through MV’s catalog. Two courses are available now: Communications and District Leadership Teams. An HR course will be available soon.
Check out the daily Detroit PBS Kids newsletter for educational resources for all grade levels and even parents. The newsletter is built off of daily conversations with these key stakeholders and other partners. Past issues of the newsletter, video messaging, and subscription sign up are available at DPTV.org, which also includes a button to translate the content into a number of different languages.
Know that members still have many questions about food services, online learning, 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 we will share that information with you as soon as we have something definitive to share. We expect to make some progress on those negotiations this week, but no promises. We know clarity is important for you right now.
Please continue to let us know your questions, 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 continue to work 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.