LANSING, Mich. – Testifying in front of a joint committee of the state Legislature, state superintendent Dr. Michael Rice advocated for increasing the number of required school days, which currently stands at 180 days.
“A return to pre-pandemic education is not enough,” Rice said. “As we plan for next year, as educators begin to do every winter, we need to pivot to a new better normal.”
Rice told legislators there needs to be state action but allow for districts to assess their students’ needs.
“We’re going to have to look at some creative ways of not just checking off a box for the number of days. We’re gonna have to make sure we extend the time for the purpose of competency and ensure our children are on the right level,” said Detroit school board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.
Rice said the approach needs to be multi-layered. He also told the joint committee that in-person classes can resume this winter if the COVID cases remain flat and access to vaccines continues to rise.
Watch the full report in the video above.
Michigan health department launches program offering weekly COVID testing to educators
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said it is moving forward with offering a voluntary COVID-19 testing program to educators.
Officials said the MI Safe Schools Testing Program, which began Tuesday, will provide weekly tests for educators at private and public schools. Approximately 300 schools and 9,000 staff members have signed up for testing so far.
MDHHS will provide testing supplies at no cost to schools.
The program comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pushed for schools to resume in-person learning by March 1.