Regarding Gov. Whitmer’s Order Suspending Face-to-Face Learning for 2019-2020

Lansing, MI, April 2, 2020—The executive directors of the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators, the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, the Michigan Association of School Boards, and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, today released the following statement regarding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to suspend in-person instruction in Michigan schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year:

“Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that Gov. Whitmer has made the difficult, but necessary choice to suspend in-person instruction for Michigan’s children for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This will be difficult for our students, parents, communities, educators, and families, but we must put the health and safety of Michigan students and families first. Together we can ensure that this will not be lost time.

As the associations that support school leaders statewide, we recognize the challenges educators face as they prepare to teach and support Michigan children and families in this extraordinary time. The decision to end in-person instruction for the year is certainly not one that was made lightly. Gov. Whitmer has acted upon the best advice of national and local medical professionals. Her Executive Order provides schools with the guidance needed to move forward and make plans to go down an uncharted path.

Gov. Whitmer has put in place sweeping changes to allow for waivers that will ensure quality instruction takes place through a variety of methods. Educators across the state have already begun working to identify best practices and pool resources so that no one will have to figure this out alone. Local needs and the digital divide in our state will make each district’s pathway to student success unique. As associations, we stand ready to provide resources and support for our members. We have confidence that each district will find ways to support students and advance learning despite any challenges. While we continue to practice social distancing, no educator or student will be left in isolation.

For students, parents, and communities, schools provide much more than education in the classroom. Schools are places where memories are made from the first day to commencement. Where school trips, teacher/student relationships, athletic events, and many other wonderful activities shape lives. Although we may not be able to end the school year with traditional events and rites of passage, each school community will find ways to recognize accomplishments and provide students and families with lasting memories.

This is a challenging time, but learning has never been limited to the school building or the school day. While there is no substitute for in-person instruction, we are confident that in the face of great challenges, Michigan’s students and educators will rise to the occasion.”