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MASA COVID-19 Update – April 29, 2020
Today, Gov. Whitmer announced a $130 million investment in childcare, and a G.I. bill-like program for essential workers. Read more about these initiatives below.
The governor also is expected to sign an Executive Order this week that will re-open construction. This is great news for school districts with construction and bond projects this summer. MASA will keep you updated as we learn more about that, but expect an EO in the next few days.
Continue to look for updates from MASA on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Please continue to feel free to share the information in this update with anyone in your organization or network who might find it helpful. Further, if there is information or resources you think should be included in an upcoming update or on the MASA COVID-19 resource center, please send them to Haley Jones for consideration.
In this update:
Gov. Whitmer Plans to Reopen Construction May 7
Today during her press conference, Gov. Whitmer said she plans to sign an Executive Order on Friday to reopen the state’s commercial and residential construction industries, effective May 7, 2020.
The administration is working with the construction industry to ensure that work will resume in a way that will keep workers, and their customers, safe and healthy as they reopen the “lower risk” field.
This change is something MASA members have asked for, as many districts have construction and bond projects planned during the summer months.
MASA will share more information when it becomes available.
Read by Grade Three Law Update
Today, MDE sent a memo announcing the temporary suspension of the Read by Grade Three law.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-35 (COVID-19), specifically Section IX(C), strict compliance with rules and procedures around MCL 380.1280f(5) is temporarily suspended. This compiled law is best known as the Read by Grade Three Law. Section IX(C) of Executive Order 2020-35 relieves a district of the obligations imposed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year to retain a pupil in grade three. The Read by Grade Three law has as its foundation state testing, which is not taking place this spring.
Gov. Whitmer Takes Significant Step to Make Child Care Affordable and Accessible for Families

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a $130 million investment to make child care more affordable and accessible for Michigan families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Child care providers have been critical partners in helping our state respond to COVID-19, and we are extremely grateful for their service,” Governor Whitmer said. “Every child care provider and early educator is important in giving parents some peace of mind while they are delivering essential services to our state at this challenging time.”

Michigan has created the “Child Care Relief Fund” to provide direct, non-competitive grants to child care providers. These funds help ensure:

  • Child care providers currently serving essential workers remain open, and costs associated with providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are not passed on to essential workers.
  • Child care providers can stay afloat during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” state of emergency.
  • Child care is more affordable to families now, and as our economy begins to reopen.
  • Child care providers across the state have the resources needed to reopen for Michigan’s workforce when the recovery process of the current COVID-19 pandemic begins and more families are in need of child care options.

Michigan’s Child Care Relief Fund consists of $100 million in federal CARES Act funding and $30 million from the state’s child care fund, both dedicated to be used only for child care services.

Licensed child care centers, family group homes, tribal child care providers, provisional disaster relief child care centers, and subsidized license exempt providers are all eligible for Michigan’s Child Care Relief Fund grants.

Grant recipients must commit to reducing their weekly rates for families by at least 10 percent, and provide care for children of essential workers regardless of where their parents or caregivers work. Grant recipients must also agree not to charge a fee to hold a child’s spot in a program while receiving grant funds.

“These funds will help sustain high quality child care that is vital for Michigan’s children and families,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Whether it’s to help child care providers cover fixed costs like their mortgage, utilities, insurance, or payroll, we wanted the funds to be as flexible as possible to meet their specific needs.”

Gov. Whitmer Announces “Futures for Frontliners, a G.I. Bill-Like Program for Essential Workers 
Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a series of initiatives to help Michigan workers and their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the “Futures for Frontliners” program to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don’t have a college degree. This includes workers like the ones staffing our hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash, or delivering supplies.
“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis. This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree,” Governor Whitmer said. “I want to assure all of our workers we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”
The “Futures for Frontliners” program is the first of its kind in the country, and was inspired by the federal government’s support of soldiers returning from World War II by providing educational opportunities. Frontline workers who take advantage of this program will help us reach Governor Whitmer’s goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a technical certificate or college degree from 45% to 60% by 2030. The Governor stated that she looks forward to working on enacting her proposal with the bipartisan legislative coalition that helped pass Reconnect last month, the program to offer adults over 25 without college degrees tuition-free access to community college.
ICYMI: What Michigan Needs to Know to Close/Impact the Digital Divide
Digital-Divide-Graphic-217px_1537796.pngLast week, MAISA shared the results of the MAISA Student and Staff Connectivity Survey titled, “What Michigan Needs to Know to Close/Impact the Digital Divide.”
The survey had 1.2 million responses.
The infographic, data, and maps will be shared with the governor’s office, MDE, and other education partner organizations.
Below are several resources shared by MAISA:
ICYMI: MASA’s Executive Order FAQ
We know you have many questions regarding the Executive Order suspending in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. To help get answers, MASA staff have worked with the governor’s office, Thrun Law Firm, MDE, and other partners to create an FAQ document. This FAQ has been shared in the resource center as well.
These are the most complete answers we have at this time, they should in no way be taken as legal advice or binding. For specific advice, please consult your legal counsel.
Resource Center
Take a look at the resources below that will keep students and parents engaged when the homework is done, as well as tools that will help school leaders during this unprecedented time.
AASA: Emergency Management, School Safety and Crisis Planning Resources
AASA, the national superintendents association, recognizes your concerns about the encroaching spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its potential impact on schools, and aims to provide the best, most up-to-date information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To help educators during this time of school closure, AASA created a resource page with communications resources, guidance on special education and food service, webinars, help with crisis planning and so much more.
NSPRA Communications Resources
The spread of the COVID-19 is an ongoing issue for public health officials, but it also presents operational and communication challenges for school systems.
The National School Public Relations Assocation (NSPRA) has compiled helpful tips, resources and news items to assist school communicators and administrators in communicating about coronavirus-related preparation steps, response efforts and emergencies.
Hanover Research Resources
MASA Strategic Partner Hanover Research shared three new resources this week to help educators with online instruction and supporting families’ social-emotional needs.
#SchoolsGetItDone
A look at the hard work happening in school districts across the state. Use the hashtag #SchoolsGetItDone on Facebook and Twitter and share what your district is doing to support students.
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