Here Is What Michigan Parents Need to Know Regarding School Closure
The Emergency Management Act gives Gov. Gretchen Whitmer broad powers to issue reasonable orders, rules, and regulations necessary to help mitigate an emergency. On March 13, Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-5, temporarily closing K-12 school buildings.
Last week, she issued Executive Order 2020-35, which temporarily suspends in-person instruction of K-12 students and provides limited and temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements so that K-12 education may continue by the best alternative means possible.
These closures have undoubtedly left parents wondering about their child’s education. Below are a few of your questions regarding the order.
How long is the Order in effect?
The Order is effective immediately and continues through the end of the states of emergency and disaster declared during the 2019-2020 school year in response to COVID-19.
How is in-person instruction impacted by the Order?
All in-person K-12 instruction in public, nonpublic, and boarding schools in Michigan is suspended for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
How will districts teach my children without in-person instruction?
A district should implement a Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan (“Plan”) no later than April 28, 2020.
What will the Plan include?
Among other things, the Plan will include the methods a district will use to provide alternative modes of instruction, a summary of materials a student will need in order to meaningfully access the alternative modes of instruction, and a notification system for students and parents/guardians.
If the school buildings are closed, can I go into my child’s school to obtain the materials necessary to comply with the Plan?
Parents or guardians may visit school property for the purpose of obtaining materials and equipment pursuant to a Plan.
Parents and guardians must abide by the district’s social distancing policies and other mitigation measures, including:
- Restriction of number of persons present in a district building to no more than strictly necessary
- Being 6 feet away from each other
- Prohibition of entry if a parent/guardian displays respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19.
What about extracurricular activities sponsored by the school?
K-12 school sports and activities and other in-person extracurricular activities are suspended while any state of emergency or state of disaster prompted by COVID-19 is in effect.
What if my child is enrolled in an AP course and needs to take an AP exam?
Students must be permitted to take the exams using at-home testing option provided by the College Board. Districts must provide access to information relating to AP courses and course schedules provided online by the College Board. If student does not have access to internet, then districts must provide access to information regarding assistance provided by College Board in completing exam requirements. Information is provided by clicking here.
What if my child was scheduled to take the PSAT this spring?
The PSAT will be administered during the fall of the 2020-2021 school year as permitted by the College Board.
What if my child is in 12th grade?
A district is required to implement a process that will award 12th grade students credits needed for graduation and issue diplomas for 12th grade students.
What if my child in 12th grade was failing a course?
If a student was failing a course as of March 11, 2020, a district must provide a student in 12th grade an opportunity to the extent feasible to demonstrate learning in the subject matter of the course and receive credit for the course.
What about a nonpublic school student or homeschooled student who is taking an elective at the public school?
If before March 11, 2020, a district was providing a nonessential elective course to a nonpublic school student or homeschool student in 12th grade, and that course is required for the student to graduate, the district must continue to offer the nonessential elective course to the student through alternative modes of instruction.
What if my child is receiving special education?
A district may complete IEPs and Section 504 plans online, by telephone conference, or video conference, if a parent/guardian has access to the technology and agrees to the alternative means.
The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are ready to answer your questions regarding the rapidly-evolving legal issues surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. Call 586-726-1000 or visit our website for information.