Can we use clorox wipes to meet the requirement that all desks are cleaned after every class period? What about cleaning chemicals typically used during flu season?

The Roadmap states that cleaning must be done “with either an EPA-approved disinfectant or diluted bleach solution.” The CDC has a reference page that can be found here with all the products that meet the criteria for use against COVID-19. When a product on their approved list is not available, the CDC recommends using an alternative disinfectant, for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions.

For additional guidance, please see the CDC’s website.

Who can help teachers sanitize desks in between classes? Could students in grades 6-12 help?

We consulted with Thrun attorneys who advised that students are permitted to wipe down their own desks before they leave the room. Assigning students to go to other classrooms to clean desks, however, is not advisable. Given the time constraints between classes and the emphasis on limiting movement in the building, sending students to other classrooms to clean desks during passing time is likely not feasible. Additionally, the Roadmap requires that cleaning supplies be stored away from students, so care should be taken to ensure that students are supervised during any cleaning activity and that cleaning supplies are properly stored.

If students select a hybrid remote option at home because they do not want to attend school during the day, are they then excluded from after school extracurricular activities?

No, they would be permitted to participate if enrolled with the district. We consulted with Thrun attorneys, and they agree that students who select a hybrid remote delivery option are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities, provided the student is otherwise eligible (e.g., meets entrance criteria for scholarship clubs; meets eligibility requirements for athletics; etc.). Schools should, however, review any applicable board policies on extracurricular participation to ensure all requirements are met.

When will CARES Act funding be made available for districts and guidelines on what it can be used for?

SB 690, now PA 123 of 2020, shall allocate funding statewide to districts to support instructional recovery programming, benchmark assessments, or health and safety expenditures necessary to provide instruction safely due to COVID-19. Funding shall be allocated by July 30, 2020, on an equal per-pupil basis, based on the number of pupils in the 2019-2020 school year.

Social distancing requirements will reduce GSRP class sizes and maintain teacher-student ratios. This will require additional staff without increased state aid. What can be done to address this?

The MASA government relations team will raise this concern in FY 21 budget discussions.

Are we able to conduct band, orchestra, and choirs with greater than 50 students in a class?

If a community is in Phase 5 you have some discretion with this activity. If you are in Phase 4 it is not safe to conduct this activity inside without masks.

Can we have marching band camp with over 100 students outdoors while in phase 4?

No. In this situation, E.O. 2020-110 applies. Under this E.O. “(6) Outdoor social gatherings and events among persons not part of a single household are permitted, but only to the extent that: (a) The gathering or event does not exceed 100 people, and (b) People not part of the same household maintain six feet of distance from one another.”

We need to be able to offer parent PD in small group settings to assist them with remote learning (if we have to close). This would be best at the beginning of the year. We would need to count the parent PD hours as instructional time to get full funding. Can that be discussed with legislators?

There is no requirement in the Roadmap or by E.O. that requires Professional Development for parents.

We consulted with Thrun attorneys, who agree that there is no requirement to conduct parent professional development, nor is there a mechanism to count time spent educating parents as professional development time.

Phase 5 Plan strongly recommends masks for students and staff. Does the governor's E/0 2020-147 make that "strongly recommended" become "required"?

Under EO 2020-147, individuals are required to wear a face-covering that covers their nose and mouth while outside their homes with some exceptions. Public spaces includes the public spaces/passing time and buses.

We consulted with Thrun attorneys who believe that the new EOs on face coverings (EO 2020-147 and EO 2020-153) do not apply to students in grades K-5 while they are in a classroom. EO 2020-147, which has been rescinded and replaced with EO 2020-153, requires all individuals ages 5 and up to wear a mask when they are in an indoor public space. Although the EO does not specifically exclude schools, Thrun does not believe this Executive Order was intended to supersede EO 2020-142. EO 2020-142 requires that students in grades K-5 wear masks while on a bus; while in common areas and indoor hallways; and while in school unless they remain with their classes throughout the day and do not come into close contact with students in another class.

Schools may, however, choose to require masks for students in grades K-5.

Are face shields are considered a face covering?

No. The Governor’s office provided guidance that states “The CDC does not recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for cloth face coverings. However, a face shield that covers the eyes, nose and mouth can be worn in addition to a cloth mask if desired. Moreover, a face shield may be worn by younger children who are not required to wear a cloth face mask.”

Due to no air conditioning, is there a temperature a mask shouldn't be worn?

The Roadmap does not provide guidance on this issue. Medical professionals often wear face coverings in various climates. Generally, if the temperature is safe for children to be in the classroom, it is safe for them to wear a mask.

What happens if we run out of PPE?

The Governor’s office has indicated they will work with MEDC on the procurement of PPE. MASA will facilitate the connection of these resources.

Are we required to provide students with PPE?

No, there is no requirement that schools must provide students with PPE under the Roadmap or through E.O. However, the H-3 version of HB 5912 would require that students and staff be provided with gloves and masks. The bill is currently before the Senate.

Do kids have to wear masks at recess when outside?

Recess should be conducted outside whenever possible with appropriate social distancing and cohorts of students. If more than one class is outside, it is strongly recommended that students should wear facial coverings.

What is the guidance if a parent refuses to allow mask wearing by their child even when there is no medical reason?

We consulted with Thrun attorneys, who confirmed that students without disabilities who refuse to wear a face-covering can be disciplined in accordance with the student code of conduct. Schools should consider:

  • Revising the dress code to mandate face coverings;
  • Discussing the need for a behavior plan for a student who consistently refuses to wear a face-covering;
  • Requiring students who won’t wear a face covering to participate virtually, if in-person and virtual options are available.

If there is a medical reason that a student cannot wear a mask, the student may need to be evaluated under IDEA or Section 504. If the student is already IDEA or 504-eligible, the applicable team should determine whether any accommodations are necessary, or if the student’s placement needs to be modified. Note that additional disciplinary safeguards apply to students with disabilities who refuse to wear a face covering.

Is replicating fall 2019 count for fall 2020 still being considered? If yes, when is a decision expected?

This is an issue currently being discussed with the legislature and will likely be addressed in FY 21 budget discussions.

Are there plans for any additional EO's around education? Specifically instructional hours, attendance requirements, etc.

Yes, there also will be future legislation that will address these identified issues among others.

Some districts are starting school in mid-August, does the Governor consider start dates when deciding what stage we are in?

Governor Whitmer will continue to use the MI Safe Start Plan as the highest-level governing framework for determining what phase each MERC Region is in.

Are schools allowed to take the temperature of students daily as part of our screening process?

The School Code (380.1504) doesn’t say schools can’t take temperatures. But, there’s no express authority in the School Code for schools to take temperatures. Schools, therefore, need an external source of authority (e.g., an Executive Order or Local Health Dept Order).

If a student has a high temperature at the bus pick up and no one is home does the bus need to have a seat with some type of separation (curtain, plexiglass) so the student can ride to school?

No. They cannot use group transportation. Under the Roadmap, all local districts must create a plan for getting students home safely if they are not allowed to board the vehicle.

What is the guidance for COVID testing? Once a student tests positive, what next? Who should get tested once a positive case has been identified in your school?

This protocol is outlined under the Roadmap. Please see the recommended procedures for a Phase 4 outbreak on page 25 and Phase 5 on page 41.

Does temperature taking need to be done by a health credentialed person or can a staff member take the temperature?

The School Code (380.1504) doesn’t say schools can’t take temperatures. But, there’s no express authority in the School Code for schools to take temperatures. Schools, therefore, need an external source of authority (e.g., an Executive Order or Local Health Dept Order).

Under 'Food Service, Gatherings, indoor assemblies that bring together students from more than one classroom are prohibited....under the recommended it states that 'If cafeterias must be used, meal times should be staggered to... create social distancing of at least 6 feet. Can we utilize our cafeteria for meals where multiple classes are present if we can socially distance them?

Yes. If you are able to socially distance students this is possible. The Roadmap recommends several alternatives for meal times.

Are local health departments are working together to present consistent messages for districts throughout the state, or will the messages be more specific to local regions?

There is a public health subcommittee of the Governor’s Return to Learn Advisory Council that is currently working on a standard toolkit to address this issue.