Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a set of health and safety guidelines on Tuesday for schools returning to in-person classrooms among the pandemic.
The “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap” outlines safety protocols for schools in each stage or reopening and includes information on the proper use of personal protection equipment, disinfecting, spacing in classrooms and identifying symptoms, among other things. Guidance is distinguished by phases and includes both required and recommended protocols.
“Our students, parents, and educators have made incredible sacrifices during our battle with COVID-19,” said Whitmer in a statement. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, the teachers who have found creative ways to reach their students, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall. The ‘MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap’ will help provide schools with the guidance they need as they enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families.”
Whitmer originally closed schools on March 1 due to the spread of the coronavirus. They were set to reopen in early April, but Whitmer extended the closure through the end of the school year. She announced earlier this month that schools will now be allowed to reopen in the fall.
In addition to state guidance, schools will also be receiving $256 million to support implementing local plans.
“The governor’s MI Safe Schools Roadmap is a thoughtful, comprehensive plan that puts the health and safety of our students and educators first, balancing this priority with the importance of in-school education,” said David Hecker, president of American Federation of Teachers Michigan, in a statement. “Our teachers and support staff are eager and ready to implement safety measures in our schools to ensure everyone who steps foot in them is protected from the spread of COVID-19.”
Whitmer’s office said the governor plans to use the MI Safe Start plan as the “highest-level governing framework” to determine protocols for schools. She also called for federal support of Michigan schools.
“I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and experts in epidemiology and public health to ensure we get this right, but we also need more flexibility and financial support from the federal government,” Whitmer said. “This crisis has had serious implications on our budget, and we need federal support if we’re going to get this right for our kids.”
Read the whole “MI Safe Schools Roadmap” here.
– – –
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]