MASA COVID-19 Update – May 8, 2020
Happy Friday!
Please note that next week will be the final week of COVID updates from MASA. While there won’t be these updates three times per week, we will still be sharing any important information and events via email – only on an as-needed basis so we don’t bombard your inboxes.
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:
ICYMI: MASA/MASSP Commencement Webinar Materials
This week, 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:
Gov. Whitmer Extends Stay Home, Stay Safe Order Through May 28

On Thursday, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-77 to extend Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The governor’s order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11as part of her MI Safe Start Plan.

“This is good news for our state, our businesses, and our working families,” said Governor Whitmer. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly. As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”
The governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order remains in effect until May 28, 2020. Under this order, Michiganders still must not leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs.
Latest MDE Updates
This week, MDE sent several emails containing resources and guidance. Below are a collection of some of the resources provided.
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund – Formula Grant Application and Information
On May 1, 2020, you received MDE memo #COVID-19-046 announcing local school district allocations for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Eligible districts will be able to apply for these funds starting Friday, May 8, 2020. School district authorized officials will initiate and submit the application in the Michigan Electronic Grants System Plus (MEGS+).
The ESSER application will require you to provide information on how you identified your most important needs and to provide a budget detailing how you intend to use these funds. In addition, you will have to outline how you will provide equitable access to students, teachers, parents, and families in non-public schools located within the district boundary. Important information related to this grant is provided here, and will also be available within the MEGS+ application. This information will be updated as new information and guidance is received from the U.S. Department of Education. Read more about this in the memo from MDE.
Distribution of Educational Materials
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. See the Guidance.
2020-21 Federal Indirect Cost Rates
MDE is pleased to announce the availability of updated indirect cost rate information. The new rate information includes special education rates for 2019-2020 and preliminary rate information for 2020-2021.
Reminder: FY21 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Grant Application Available
MDE announced that the Michigan Electronic Grants System Plus (MEGS+) application for the Fiscal Year 2021 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) grant is available for sponsors.
Please note – this year, eligible schools are school buildings that house elementary students. MDE considers elementary students as those in grade 6 or lower. Building sites with elementary students that also contain students in grades 7 and higher may apply but must ensure that ONLY K-6 grade students receive the FFVP snacks. Ineligible sites are high schools, middle schools, or pre-K only buildings.
Limits on past USDA funding allowed MDE to award grants to schools with free and reduced-price eligibility at 85 percent or higher. Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCIs) can participate, provided they operate an elementary school program during the day and participate in the National School Lunch Program. Applications are due to MDE by May 20, 2020.
Two documents – Important Information about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Applicationand Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) Grant Application – Tips for Completing the Application are located on the MDE FFVP webpage under How to Apply. Contact the School Nutrition Programs office with any questions by phone at 517-241-5374 or email at MDE-SchoolNutrition@michigan.gov. 

EPIC Read by Grade Three Survey Extended
As we let you know back in February, MASA is working with the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State University to promote their statewide survey of current superintendents, K-8 principals, and K-8 teachers (of all subjects) on the Read by Grade Three law.
Given that this is a time of major transition for schools and districts, the survey has been held open to provide more time for you to add your perspective. EPIC has also updated the survey with questions about how schools are responding to the suspension of face-to-face instruction due to the pandemic.
This is a challenging time for your school community and while we know you have many important priorities, we hope you will consider adding your voice on these critical policy areas. EPIC continues to offer 5 SCECHs in recognition of your time and the time of educators in your district who complete the survey. We encourage you to take the survey and pass the survey messages on to your K-8 teachers and principals.
If you have any questions, you may contact EPIC’s Managing Director, Emily Mohr at emohr@msu.edu
Dr. Rice Reflects on Power of Teachers, Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week
On Thursday, MDE shared a statement and video message from Dr. Michael Rice, state superintendent of public instruction, on the powerful effect teachers have on students.
In the latest #proudMIeducator video, celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week and Month, Dr. Rice reflects upon the power of the education profession – sharing his experience as a student and the influence teachers have had on his life; why educators continue to be such an important part our communities; and ways in which we can collectively work to rebuild the pride associated with the profession. “Teachers change lives every day,” Dr. Rice said. “Over a period of years, more has been asked of our teachers – far beyond instruction. We need to recognize the greater challenges and appreciate our teachers for the wide range of responsibilities – formal and informal – that they have.
“As we honor Michigan’s teachers, we also pay tribute to those who taught Michigan’s educators. Just as our children stand on the shoulders of their teachers, so too do educators stand on the shoulders of their teachers. We all benefit from those who have poured into us in our lives.”
ICYMI: Updates from AASA
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.
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.
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.
MDE Social Emotional Resources
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is providing Social Emotional Learning Resources for children and adults. The page includes online modules, videos, books recommendations, and more.
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.
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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