Gov. Whitmer clarifies Michigan Department of Education memo regarding ‘instructional time during school closure’

The coronavirus outbreak has triggered cancellations, closures and drastic changes across the nation. That includes school closures.

LANSING, Mich. – The coronavirus outbreak has triggered cancellations, closures and drastic changes across the nation. That includes school closures.

Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that all Michigan K-12 schools would be closed for at least three weeks to “protect our kids, our families, and our overall public health.”

On Friday, Michigan school officials said the online work students have been doing from home won’t count toward the curriculum. This lead to concern and confusion from some parents, leaving some wondering if their child would be held back or stopped from graduating.

READ: Online school work won’t count toward curriculum, state officials say

The Michigan Department of Education indicated Friday that -- short of legislation action -- the lessons and work will not count academically and the statutory 180 days of learning will remain intact. The missed days, due to school closures, will have to be made up.

On Friday night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement regarding instructional time during school closure:

"Earlier today the Michigan Department of Education issued a memo regarding Instructional Time During School Closure. I know it caused a lot of confusion and panic among schools, teachers, students, and families. I wanted to provide some clarification from the perspective of the Governor’s Office.

The memo does not mean that school work done during the mandatory school closure won’t ‘count’ toward grades, credits, or graduation. Each district should determine what services and supports they are able to provide during this unprecedented crisis. Many are focusing on meeting basic needs and are working around the clock to provide breakfast and lunch for hungry students. Other districts have the ability to provide more learning support as a result of one-to-one technology initiatives. I am in awe of the work that school employees are doing to support their kids and I applaud their efforts.

As you know, the situation has changed rapidly over the course of the past ten days. We do not know what the future will hold, but we are absolutely committed to ensuring the needs of our students, parents, and families are met as we navigate these uncharted waters. I will be working in the coming days to ensure our seniors graduate and that no child is held back as a result of our ability to provide face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 school closure.

To teachers, administrators, and support staff – I thank you for stepping up and helping your students and families.

To students and especially parents, hang in there. We will get through this."

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.