State making it harder for schools to stay virtual

Even as the pandemic worsens again, schools will face a loss of funding if they choose to go virtual this fall.

One year ago, state education officials promised “maximum flexibility” for schools in Michigan to do what they had to do to teach children. In many cases that meant virtual classes and other methods of educating kids without meeting in person.

There is no such flexibility this year. Michigan’s education budget requires all public schools to offer in-person instruction or risk losing their funding.

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So far that’s not a problem. All districts in Michigan are intending to return students to the classroom this fall. The problem comes if COVID-19 infection rates continue to climb, as they have done for the past month.

State rules – passed by the legislature and signed by the governor earlier this summer – requires school districts to offer at least 180 days and 1,098 hours of in-school instruction. Districts can request a waiver from these rules, but that’s expected to be a difficult process with an unlikely approval.

[Bridge Michigan]

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