LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn said he strongly supports the Michigan Return to Learn Plan to ensure the safety of students as learning resumes in the fall.
The plan was unveiled on Tuesday by the chairs of the House and Senate education committees and would invest $1.3 billion in restricted federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to ensure schools can reopen safely with both in-classroom and remote learning options.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually every part of our lives, and our students and teachers were among the most affected as school buildings across Michigan were closed to protect people from the virus,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “As conditions improve in our state and our schools prepare to reopen in the fall, we need to ensure they have the necessary resources to improve safety and provide our students with healthy learning conditions and options.”
The plan would provide schools $800 per student to implement coronavirus-related health measures, such as reducing class sizes, adopting a robust distance learning plan, enhancing sanitation procedures, purchasing personal protective equipment, and making building enhancements to improve safety. Resources would be available for all efforts undertaken after the statewide closure of classrooms on March 16.
The Return to Learn Plan would also redefine “attendance” to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present” to give students the opportunity to learn remotely, have school districts work with local health departments to establish safety requirements for extracurricular activities and sports in addition to regular school safety measures, and provide $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools with distance learning plans and safety measures.
“Instead of a one-size-fits-all burden, this plan gives students, teachers and school officials flexibility to make the decisions that will work best for them,” Zorn said. “It also expresses our deep appreciation for the teachers — who were incredible in continuing to teach their students during unprecedented school closures — by providing each of them $500 for their time and sacrifice.”