Governor says it’s unlikely schools will reopen this year.

March 27, 2020

Mason County Eastern playground, empty, March 25, 2020.

Governor says it’s unlikely schools will reopen this year.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in a radio interview today, said that it is unlikely that Michigan K-12 schools will reopen this school year. Whitmer spoke on WWJ Newsradio and said classrooms should stay closed while the number of COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Michigan.

Initially, Whitmer set April 6 as the re-opening date when her first executive order closed public and private elementary and secondary schools beginning March 16. She then extended the date to April 13.

“We are working diligently to come up with a plan to meet the needs of our kids,” Whitmer said. “Anyone who is watching what is happening globally with this pandemic knows it’s probably very unlikely they’re going to get back in school before the end of this year.”

Whitmer said she hasn’t made any officially call on the extended closing yet because she wants to make sure there are plans in place that work for the needs of children across the state.

“It’s not something you develop overnight because we’ve got an inequitable system across the state of Michigan,” Whitmer said.

Mason County Central Superintendent Jeff Mount said, like his other counterparts, he is monitoring the status of school closings.

“Like everyone else, I’m monitoring every bit of communication coming out of Lansing and in particular the governor,” Mount said. “There are a lot more questions than answers right now.  The governor did say in last night’s town hall meeting that we will know what the end of the school year will look like next week.”

Hart Public Schools Superintendent Mark Platt said he is hoping the governor weighs all options.

“It creates a situation unimaginable and I hate the idea,” Platt said. “It’s too early to make that decision.”

Most area schools have recently sent out curriculum and study guides to parents to continue their children’s education until the end of the year.

Parents should refer to their child’s school’s website for further information.

On March 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced students impacted by school closures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. Upon a proper request, the Department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.

“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn.,” DeVos said. “Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.”

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