On June 30, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Safe Schools Return to Schools Roadmap, a 63 page document with comprehensive guidance to help local school districts create plans for in-person learning this fall. Additionally, Ms. Whitmer announced the signing of Executive Order 2020-142 which provides guidance on developing “Preparedness Plans”.

EO 2020-142 requires school districts to adopt a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan laying out how they will protect students and educators across the various phases of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. The MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap offers guidelines as to the types of safety protocols that will be required or recommended at each phase. The safety protocols detailed in the MI Safe Schools Roadmap includes guidance on the use of PPE, good hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting, spacing in classrooms, screening for symptoms, athletics, and more. The Roadmap also recognizes the impact COVID-19 has had on students’ and educators’ metal health and offers guidance on how schools can address this issue.

The plan lays out specific guidelines for facial coverings at school depending on the phase your community is in of the MI Safe Start Plan:

  • In Phase 4:
    • Facial coverings must always be worn by staff except for meals.
    • Facial coverings must be worn by PK-12 students, staff, and bus drivers during school transportation.
    • Facial coverings must always be worn in hallways and common areas by PK-12 students in the building except for during meals.
    • Facial Coverings must be worn in classrooms by all staff and students grade 6-12 only.
  • In Phase 5, these steps will be strongly recommended, but there will ultimately be some flexibility and local communities will need to document their decision in their plan.

For athletics, the plan also spells out protocols for athletics in different phases of the MI Safe Start Plan.

  • In Phase 4:
  • Students, teachers, and staff must use proper hand hygiene techniques before and after every practice, event, or other gathering.
  • Every participant should confirm that they are healthy and without any symptoms prior to any event.
  • All equipment must be disinfected before and after use.
  • Spectators are allowed provided that facial coverings are used by observers and six feet of social distancing can be maintained at all times.
  • And more.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations are continuing to develop guidance for how sports can be played safely. Gov. Whitmer is also calling on MHSAA to consider postponing fall sports where social distancing is impossible to the spring – and running some of the more individualized sports like track and field, tennis, and soccer in the fall

Obviously, there’s a lot to unpack here, and as soon as we’ve had more time with the document, we will have more to share. In the meantime, please review the documents below.

Also signed today is EO 2020-140, work permits required by the Youth Employment Standards Act can be mailed, emailed, faxed or sent via the web rather than the previously required in-person submission. This order takes effect immediately and continues through July 31, 2020.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate in reaching out to MASA—we may not have the answer, but we can try to track it down.