MASA COVID-19 Update – May 11, 2020
We hope you had a safe and healthy weekend.
Please note that this week is 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.
Please also continue to share what is happening in your district on social media using the hashtag #SchoolsGetItDone.
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:
Call to Action: Equitable Services
MASA and AASA are deeply concerned with the US Department of Education’s (USED) flawed interpretation of the CARES Act’s equitable services requirements. As such, we are calling on our members to weigh in with Congress to highlight how USED’s guidance undermines Congress’s goal of targeting CARES Act funds to high-poverty communities.
While some of our members have expressed concerns over the general formula in the CARES Act, we are unified in our belief that these dollars were not meant to be a windfall for private dollars.
Briefly, USED’s guidance advises local educational agencies to calculate the proportionate share for CARES Act equitable services based on overall enrollment rather than poverty rates. This significantly expands the share of funding available to private schools beyond what they would have gotten under the CARES Act’s plain language. Check out the full summary on the Leading Edge Blog from AASA.
To help members easily participate in this Call to Action, we created a form that members can use to easily contact their members of congress with a personalized message to share their concerns.
Latest MDE Updates
During the past week, MDE has sent several emails containing resources and guidance. Below are a collection of some of the resources provided.
UPDATED Early Middle College (EMC) Requirements FAQ During COVID-19 Closure
The governor has ordered the closure of all in-person K-12 instruction for the remainder of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an update to the EMC required closure MEMO #COVID-19-037 UPDATED Early Middle College Requirements FAQ During COVID-19 Closure.
UPDATED Career and Technical Education Requirements FAQ During COVID-19 Closure
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor ordered the closure of all school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This includes all state-approved career and technical education (CTE) programs directly run by intermediate school districts (ISDs) and local education agencies. This is an update to MDE MEMO #COVID-19-038 UPDATED Career and Technical Education Requirements FAQ During COVID-19 Closure.
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. 

Federal Funding Opportunity for Student Wellness and Safety
The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has a federal funding opportunity for states and school districts to prevent school violence and support student mental health provided through its STOP School Violence Grant program.
  • The STOP School Violence Act authorizes $75 million in FY20 for the implementation of evidence-based violence prevention programs in school districts across the country.
  • State agencies, municipalities, tribal organizations, and school districts are all eligible to apply.
  • Grant applications are due June 9, 2020.
Even when schools are not meeting in person, student mental wellness and violence prevention remain critical issues. Unfortunately, many youth and adults who observe signs and signals of harm toward self or others do not recognize or report what they are seeing. Grants provided through the STOP School Violence Act help more schools and districts access lifesaving programs to train their students and educators to recognize these warning signs and take action to prevent tragedies and save lives. Funding may be used for anti-bullying programs, training for staff in providing support for students during mental crises, and other school safety measures.
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
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.
Hanover Research Superintendents Leadership Council
Hanover Reserach hosted its latest Superintendents Leadership Council on May 7 with a conversation around academic and operational considerations for the summer and fall, specifically dealing with questions about reentry scenarios, effective communication strategies, and mitigating “summer” learning loss.
Dave Tebo, superintendent of Hamilton Community Schools, was a participant on the panel.
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.
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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