LANSING, Mich. – Republican lawmakers in the Michigan House and Senate said they will announce a “Return to Learn” plan for schools on Tuesday.
Tuesday afternoon update: The Republican arm of the Return To Learn plan pledged an appropriation of $1 billion, ostensibly to stop the bloodletting of frightened, desperate school distracts that have seven days to turn in budgets and are opting for worst-case scenarios with layoffs.
They proposed a $1.3 billion plan to help K-12 schools reopen during the pandemic, saying districts should have flexibility to start when they want and to offer remote instruction as an alternative if necessary.
The one-time funding, including an $800 per-pupil increase to address new costs related to COVID-19, would come from $3 billion in federal relief. Teachers would get a $500 bonus.
A spokeswoman for the office of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Tiffany Brown, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the proposed Return to Learn plan.
”It is encouraging to see Republicans in the legislature acknowledge that education funding and the flexibility to prioritize learning in a safe environment is critically important,” Brown said. “However, it is disheartening to see that their proposal was nothing more than a copy of the DeVos-funded Great Lakes Education Project one-pager.
“Governor Whitmer will continue to work with everyone who is serious about developing a clear plan for schools across the state that prioritizes safety and learning, and she will have more to announce on June 30,” Brown added.
Legislatures say the plan is to give schools “maximum flexibility to empower students and parents in the coming school year.”
“As we embark on a new school year that follows statewide school closures and the global pandemic, we must ensure students are safe, parents are informed, and schools and teachers are empowered to provide continued quality education for our young people,” reads a statement from lawmakers.
- A news conference is planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday in Lansing.
State Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township) and Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton Township), chairs of the House and Senate education committees, will deliver an overview of the bicameral plan. Committee members will also be in attendance and House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey will be available for comment.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced last week that K-12 schools will be allowed to reopen in the fall after being closed to in-person lessons since the pandemic hit in March. School districts were forced to shift to remote learning during the unprecedented school closures, which many weren’t prepared to do.
Whitmer says the “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” will be released on June 30.
Meanwhile, Michigan State University has compiled an array of recommendations and guidelines from the CDC and other research, officials said. Recommendations include the familiar social distancing guidelines in addition to limiting classroom sizes and constantly transitioning from remote to in-person learning. Officials suggest staggering individual students’ schedules so that some are studying remotely while others are in the physical classroom to limit interaction among students.
- View more: Michigan COVID-19 data