(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of the Return to Learning Advisory Council to formalize a process for how schools may be able to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.
The council will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials. They will provide the COVID-19 task force on education with recommendations on how to safely, equitably and efficiently return to school in the fall.
“It’s critical we bring together experts in health care and education, as well as students, educators, and families to think about how and if it’s possible to safely return to in-person learning in the fall and how to ensure the more than 1.5 million K-12 students across Michigan get the education they need and deserve,” Whitmer said in a release. “This panel will use a data-informed and science-based approach with input from epidemiologists to determine if, when, and how students can return to school this fall and what that will look like.”
On March 3, the governor announced the COVID-19 Task Force on Education which includes key state government agencies, including MDHHS and MDE reprsentatives and others.
On April 30, she announced schools would be closed for the duration of the year.
Now, the task force will be informed by the Return to School Advisory Council to come up with a roadmap for schools to reopen.
The Advisory Council will provide the COVID-19 Task Force on education with recommendations on how to safely, equitably and efficiently return to school in the fall and assemble critical voices from education, public health and communities across the state to identify the key issues schools must consider before opening, including:
- Performing outreach to ensure the voices of stakeholders are included in the discussion of implementing the 2020-2021 school year in these challenging and uncharted circumstances.
- Ensuring experts in public health and epidemiology are informing the discussion of safety returning to school.
- Recommending actions to remove statutory/administrative barriers to delivering education before we are at Phase 6 of the MI Safe Start Plan.
- Recommending actions to develop and improve systems for remedial support for students who experienced learning loss during the spring and summer.
“I want to thank all of the parents who have been burning the candle at both ends these last few months trying to help their kids stay on track with their schoolwork while juggling their other responsibilities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I know it hasn’t been easy,” Whitmer added in a release . “My hope is that by organizing a formal process informed by public health experts, we can give school districts much-needed direction heading into the 2020-2021 school year.”
The panel will be made up of more than 20 members representing K-12 administrators and educators, health experts and community stakeholders
Anyone interested can apply for the Return to Learn Advisory Council by going to Michigan.gov/appointments and click ‘apply now’ under boards and commissions.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
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