LANSING, Mich. — A plan announced by the Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday would provide additional investment and guidelines for school districts to safely reopen in the fall, said Sen. Ed McBroom.
The “Return to Learn” plan would invest a total of $1.3 billion, including an $800 per-pupil payment to K-12 schools to implement distance learning plans and health and safety measures to return students safely to the classroom, and $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools in coordinating and implementing distance learning plans and safety measures. It would also provide teachers with $500 in hazard pay — $53 million total — to help cover costs incurred from transitioning to distance learning in response to COVID-19.
“Finding a way to get students back to school in person as much as possible is important. I support this plan because it will help ensure students continue to receive a quality education in their community with the guidance of their professional teachers,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “Not only does the plan provide investments for developing and implementing distance learning plans, but it also will support school districts’ health and safety efforts to ensure students have safe places to learn.”
Additionally, the plan would provide resources for local school districts and health departments to work together to develop school health and safety standards that best meet community needs. This may include smaller class sizes, adjustments to instructional hours and busing times, enhancing sanitation procedures, purchasing personal protective equipment, and making building enhancements to improve safety.
“While this plan is in the early stages, my legislative colleagues and I will be working to ensure that Upper Peninsula schools are represented fairly and will be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students and rural communities,” McBroom said. “We believe that our schools should have flexibility given the fewer cases of COVID-19 in the U.P. compared to the rest of Michigan.”
The plan would also:
- Redefine “attendance” to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present,” allowing schools to be innovative and give students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom.
- Utilize benchmark assessments to provide parents and teachers with details about where a student needs additional help, so they don’t fall behind in the wake of a public health crisis.