MASA COVID-19 Update – May 6, 2020
Thank you to those of you who were able to join us live for the webinar on commencement with MASSP. If you were not able to join us, the recording and materials are available below.
We are also sharing two updates from AASA, including a Call to Action on ERate. MASA members are encouraged to participate.
As always, 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:
Distributing Paper-Based Packets and Other Materials During the COVID-19 Health Crisis
MDE has received many questions about school personnel and volunteer safety for educational material preparation, distribution, and collection during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Michigan Association of School Nurses jointly developed the document, Distributing Paper-Based Packets and Other Materials During the COVID-19 Health Crisis.
MASA/MASSP Commencement Webinar Materials
Today MASA and MASSP hosted a webinar focused on commencement and end-of-year celebrations during COVID-19. A recording of the webinar and a copy of the PowerPoint are now available online.
Below are links to the recording and resources:
AASA Call to Action on ERate
As the nation’s public schools continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn, one of the enduring needs and conversations relates to the homework gap, or the reality that far too many of our students lack the internet access necessary to access and participate in remote learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a bright light on one of the worst kept secret inequities for today’s students: the homework gap. The pandemic forced more than 55 million students into a remote learning reality, resulting in an almost immediate struggle to ensure students can access online learning. It is anticipated that 12 million students across the nation lack internet access adequate to support online learning.  AASA has drafted a letter, to be sent to all members of Congress, urging them to take immediate action to support all students displaced from their classrooms. Congress must ensure the next COVID-19 funding package include $4 billion in direct funds to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Schools and Libraries Program, commonly called the E-Rate program, to help connect millions of students to the internet so they can continue their education and planning for the possibility of interruptions to classroom teaching and learning during the 2020-2021 school year.
Our state superintendent association is pleased to share this letter and call to action with you, and to encourage you to sign it, on behalf of your district. As part of the AASA advocacy strategy, this letter will be one piece in a broader day of action related to raising awareness about related legislative proposals, with the collective aim of putting enough pressure on Congress to ensure that the next round of COVID-19 emergency relief not only include funding for educational technology, but that the funding flow through the E-Rate program.
You’ll recall that while the CARES Act does include funding that can be used to address the homework gap, it is part of a larger pot of funding with a long list of allowable uses. The dollar amount of the overall pot comes nowhere near addressing the full set of needs it is designed to address (including connectivity) and it unnecessarily complicates the process by which schools could use it to access education technology because it would require a new bureaucratic program to drive the dollars to schools for an education technology use, instead of using the already established and well-proven E-Rate program.
In response to this mis-step, several members in both the House and Senate have introduced legislation to address this very issue and to call on their peers to support the need of dedicated funding for the E-Rate program. AASA supports both of these proposals, companion bills introduced by Rep Meng (D-NY) and Sen Markey (D-MA). The letter we are asking you to sign ties all of these efforts together by providing a unified voice for school superintendents across the nation to express their support for inclusion of funding through the E-Rate program in the next COVID package. You can review and sign the letter here.
As part of its ongoing advocacy efforts specific to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, AASA has released the second iteration of its nationwide survey, which will provide data that better illustrates the impact of COVID-19 in schools in terms of the effect of the pandemic itself and the resulting economic downturn.
The data from this survey will be used to track how districts are responding to federal and state pressures to re-open schools and deliver equity-based services during the crisis. Moreover, the survey will help detail the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s public schools. Thanks in large part to support from state associations, AASA’s last COVID-19 survey received more than 1,600 responses from 48 states and produced valuable data that has been integral in our advocacy efforts on IDEA, the homework gap, and the federal Coronavirus emergency relief legislative packages.
MASA members are encouraged to take the survey, which can be accessed using the link below.
Gov. Whitmer Extends Executive Orders Enable Remote Transactions, E-Signatures

Gov. Whitmer today signed Executive Orders 2020-73 and 2020-74, which extend two Executive Orders signed last month to help protect the health and safety of all Michiganders during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The orders:
  • Continue to temporarily allow e-signatures on official documents and remote notarizations to avoid unnecessary in-person contact.
  • Continue to temporarily suspend licensing, decal and trip permit requirements used by the Department of Treasury to collect taxes owed by motor carriers.
The new orders take immediate effect. Executive Order 2020-73 (motor carriers) continues through June 2, while Executive Order 2020-74 continues through June 30.
Executive Order 2020-74 temporarily suspends requirements for in-person notarizations, and allows transactions that require a notary to be completed via two-way, real-time audiovisual technology. The order also extends the validity of notary commissions until June 30, 2020. It also permits the use of electronic signatures in all cases, except in rare circumstances when a physical signature is required. 
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.
U.S Department of Education COVID-19 Resources
The U.S. Department of Education continues to update its COVID-19 resource page with guidance, links to grant applications, fact sheets, funding information, and more.
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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