In today’s update:

  • Gov. Whitmer: ‘Very Unlikely’ Kids Will Get Back to School Before End of Year
  • Flexibility in Title Funds Allow for Technology Purchases
  • Subscribe to the Detroit PBS Kids Daily Newsletter
  • Other
  • MASA COVID-19 Resource Center

Gov. Whitmer: ‘Very Unlikely’ Kids Will Get Back to School Before End of Year

Today in a radio interview, Gov. Whitmer said that it is “very unlikely” the state’s students will go back to school before the end of the 2019-20 school year.

“We are working diligently to come up with a plan to meet the needs of our kids. I think anyone who is watching what is happening globally with this pandemic knows it is probably very unlikely they’re going to get back in school before the end of the year,” Gov. Whitmer said on WWJ-AM. “I haven’t made that call yet because I want to make sure we’ve got a plan to meet the needs of our kids and that is what we are working on.”

On Thursday, the governor indicated she is working on a plan for schools with lawmakers and other education stakeholders but did not elaborate on if the current four-week school closure would be extended for the rest of the school year.

With this in mind, MASA members should begin preparations for a possible shut down for the remainder of the school year. We suggest you begin working with your school boards and teachers to start thinking about a plan to provide instruction to students in a way that isn’t face-to-face.

MDE  created a list of free or low-cost online learning resources, which the department shared earlier this week. Please continue to visit this website and review information sent by the department as these resources and guidance will be continually updated. MDE is working with the administration and education partners on longer-term solutions. These resources are available in the interim.

With online instruction will come a need for staff training. More information about funding related professional development is available below.

We also recognize that online learning will not be possible for some districts or families. Which is why the MASApress release from March 25th calls for a plan that acknowledges “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.”

As we wait for more information about what the rest of the school year looks like, we encourage members to start thinking about the 2020-21 school year. If indeed we are out for the remainder of the year, superintendents may want to consider applying for a pre-Labor Day waiver.

Flexibility in Title Funds Allow for Technology Purchases

During these extraordinary circumstances in Michigan, and given Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders 2020-5 and 2020-21, which will keep K-12 schools closed through April 13, 2020, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is providing increased flexibility to local educational agencies (LEAs) regarding the use of federal funds. This flexibility is possible through waivers received from the U.S. Department of Education. This memo describes additional opportunities for the use of federal title funds to support instruction through technology.

Funds may be used to purchase items such as hot spots, devices for teacher use to support student learning, trainings for educators about how to deliver instruction, and more. See the full list in the memo from MDE.

Subscribe to the Daily Detroit PBS Kids Newsletter

Check out the daily Detroit PBS Kids newsletter for educational resources for students at all grade levels and parents. The newsletter has been a result of daily conversations with key stakeholders and several other partners to ensure its relevance and usefulness. Past issues of the newsletter, video messaging, and subscription sign up are available at DPTV.org, which also includes an option to translate the content into a number of different languages. This is a great option for educational resources if families do not have a reliable internet connection.

Other

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 continues 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.