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The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a rapidly evolving issue, and we are monitoring it closely. This page is a resource tool for charter school educators, families and advocates, created through the collaborative efforts of MAPSA - MI's Charter School Association & the MI Council of Charter School Authorizers. Because the information changes so rapidly, we encourage you to verify the information before taking any official action.
On Wednesday May 13th, the Michigan Department of Education issued guidance on educator evaluations. This guidance supersedes the governor’s Executive Order 2020-65 issued on April 30.
Additional guidance and FAQs for educator evaluations during the 2019-20 school year were compiled by the Office of Educator Excellence on June 4, 2020.
All state-required spring assessments have been canceled. All statutory requirements that utilize assessment data, including the A-F state report card, Third-Grade Reading law, Partnership District goals and educator evaluations have been suspended for the year. For rising seniors, the SAT will be postponed until the Fall. PSAT will also be postponed until the Fall.
Schools must develop a plan/process to give grades to seniors, award credits needed for graduation, certify transcripts and confer diplomas. Schools are encouraged to award credit for prior learning/content mastery and/or utilize project based learning, a portfolio/resume approach, or a culminating activity.
Utilize guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. Provide support to students and their IEPS to the fullest extent possible. NOTE: MDE continues to seek additional guidance, flexibility, and waivers from the US Department of Education related to students with IEPs and 504 plans.
Yes, strict compliance with rules and procedures are temporarily suspended to the extent necessary to allow the MDE to renew an individual’s teaching certificate or permit between now and the end of the individual’s certificate or permit regardless of whether the individual has received an annual year-end evaluation for the 2019–2020 school year.
An intermediate school district that is an approved grantee of Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) funding for the 2019–20 school year shall maintain records of approved subrecipient plans for continuing the GSRP for the remainder of the 2019–20 school year. The intermediate school district is responsible for ensuring all subrecipients, including community-based providers, create a GSRP plan.
The board’s role remains to ensure that your hired or contracted management is doing what is in the best interest of the students, within the parameters of the law, policy, and the charter contract. This includes continuing to be engaged by regularly receiving information about their school’s academic, organizational, fiscal, and health and safety conditions outside of meetings.
On Wednesday, March 18, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2020-15 on this topic. This directive specified, among other things, all public bodies could meet virtually and members participating virtually could be counted towards a quorum.
You should consult your authorizer and board attorney. This directive also does not suspend the Open Meetings Act (OMA). For an additional resource to publish your PSA Board meeting notices, visit the MI Public Notices website. Virtual board meetings have been extended until July 31st, 2020.
Some of the the youth work permit application requirements, such as signatures, have been suspended through July 3, 2020.
On April 30th, the Michigan Department of Education released the following memo regarding some flexibility regarding requirements for district improvement plans (DIPs), single building district improvement plans (SBDIPs), and school improvement plans (SIPs) for 2020-21.
Continuity of Learning Plans require that all staff continue to be paid through the end of the 2019-20 school year. This requirement does not include contracted staff, although it is still highly encouraged. This requirement was based on the assumption that state funding would continue as normal. If (and there is a high likelihood it will) state funding is reduced for the 2019-20 school year, this requirement could possibly be lifted for directly employed staff as well. This requirement does not impact any staffing decisions for the 2020-21 school year.
According to the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, some limited forms of construction are permissible, including construction to maintain and improve essential public works like roads, bridges, the telecommunications infrastructure, and public health infrastructure. For schools, this would involve only emergency repairs to the building (e.g., leaking roof, broken window, electrical/plumbing problems, broken boiler/furnace). On an ongoing basis, new construction and renovations are not essential and therefore should not be continued. All construction work that is carried out while the order is in effect must be done in accordance with the mitigation measures required under section 5(c) of the order.
Additional guidance is available through the Governor’s office.
Yes, MDE has a contingency plan designed to ensure payments to schools are not disrupted. Charter school authorizers are also prepared to ensure that State Aid flows as normal - there will be no hold up on their end.
MDE is issued this guidance for those staff members who are compensated with federal funds so that you may continue to pay them through the closure period
USED announced a new waiver process for testing and accountability, and the MDE has submitted a waiver for all testing and accountability for Michigan. The legislature, Governor’s office. and MDE are exploring options with the College Board for SAT and AP testing, as well other alternatives.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has received a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to serve non-congregate meals under the Unanticipated School Closure provision of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
The waiver allows providers of school meals to serve meals without having to keep children together and on-site. This waiver allows districts to explore creative options for feeding children who depend on those meals even if the school building is closed. Learn more about the waiver and what it entails. MDE also stated that reimbursement will function the same as it always has regardless of whether students are in school or not.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) provides temporary funding to address emergency food needs for families affected by the pandemic. P-EBT food assistance will go to MI families with students 5-18 that are eligible for free or reduced price school meals. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program benefits, as well as those not currently enrolled in the program.
The MI Department of Education (MDE) released a memo on March 23, 2020, offering clarification on special education guidelines during the school closure period, in part saying this:
"If a district chooses to provide educational support (online learning, instructional packets, enrichment/enhancement activities, among other approaches) to all students, districts must consider the additional needs of students with disabilities, including accessibility. Educational supports provided through distance learning approaches are designed to assist students in maintaining skills, and in some cases, make progress in the general education curriculum. Districts must address the unique and individual needs of students with disabilities when utilizing these approaches. If technology is needed for a student with a disability to access an educational activity, the needed technology and support must be provided by the district at no charge to the student."
The U.S. Department of Education released a memo on March 21, 2020, offering additional special education guidance, in part saying this:
"Ensuring compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), † Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act should not prevent any school from offering educational programs through distance instruction."
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Office of Special Education (OSE) through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE) require districts to provide special education and related services to students with individualized education programs (IEPs) regardless of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency. MDE has created this document to compile questions we are receiving and provide answers in a uniform and consistent manner. The MDE has worked to ensure this guidance is aligned and consistent with information provided by the federal Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
You can learn more about supporting the educational needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic at the following sources:
Q - Do schools need to provide compensatory services for a student with an IEP due to the school closure?
A - There may be circumstances where an IEP team needs to consider whether there is a need for compensatory education. This decision is made on an individual basis.
Q - When schools reopen, but a student with an IEP is absent for an extended period due to contracting the coronavirus, is the school required to provide compensatory education once the student returns to school?
A - Yes, per MDE, compensatory education may need to be provided upon the student’s return to school, or when their quarantine period has ended.
Q - If a district needs to convene an IEP team meeting during this period of school closure, what options does the school have to meeting?
A - A district may consider scheduling a virtual IEP team meeting along with other meeting formats (e.g. face-to-face or a combination of face-to-face and virtual). This decision must be made on a case-by-case basis and must include the parent.
Q - What do we do if the annual IEP comes due during the school closure period?
A - At this time, IEP timelines cannot be extended and will result in an untimely data submission. MDE will issue a Data Alert, however this will not result in Corrective Action.
Q - What should a school/district do if the re-evaluation timeline cannot be met due the school closure period?
A - MDE guidance suggests that the school request an extension of the evaluation timeline through use of an Agreement to Extend Evaluation Timeline document. MDE will issue Data Alerts for annual IEPs 3-year re-evaluations not completed within the 3-year timeline due to mandatory school closure resulting from COVID-19, however, Corrective Action will not be issued.
No, effective immediately, MDE is waiving this requirement only during the period of this public health emergency for students who are under quarantine or have contracted the coronavirus. The waiver will not apply to additional days of absence.
Q - If a student is currently receiving homebound services and schools are closed, is the school required to provide services for students?
A - No, schools are not required to provide services for students with IEPs while schools are closed.
Q - If a parent of a student who is receiving homebound services requests the district to not provide services due to health and safety concerns, is the district required to make up missed services?
A - No, the student is considered absent (record this as an absence in logs) and the district is not required to provide make-up or compensatory services.
Q - If schools are open and the school determines that staff will not provide homebound services due to health and safety reasons, during this public health emergency, is the school required to make-up or provide compensatory services?
A - The school must review the IEP and determine what, if any, services must be made-up (compensatory services) to assure that the student has received a FAPE.
This resource from the Michigan Department of education provides local schools an enriched effort, written largely by Michigan teachers, to help address the immediate needs of staff who must address the immediate needs of children - at a distance - during a pandemic.
Because children are not currently in your classrooms, assessing safety, providing support and ensuring individual children’s needs are met can be very challenging. The issuance of Executive Order 2020-35 makes this obligation even more imperative since children will not be returning to their physical school building this year. This resource is intended to provide information and strategies to support educators and families during this time.
Taking your teaching into a fully virtual environment will have some challenges, but educators at full-time online schools, Connections Academy, encourage you to tap into the basics of teaching and learning -- things like communication, empathy, motivation -- that transcend the classroom type or teaching medium.
Teaching online is difficult and challenging work. Nobody can learn to teach and learn well online in a couple of days, weeks or even months. As the nation asks our face to face educators to transition to an online format, MACUL is providing some guidelines to consider so that these new online classes are equitable and continue to provide a free and fair education for all students.
If you’ve found yourself teaching in a distance-learning situation, especially if it’s been foisted upon you by circumstance, you’ll discover pretty quickly that distance learning offers different challenges from face-to-face instruction. And if you look online, you’ll find tons of ideas and resources that can help you tackle those challenges, so much that it’s easy to get paralyzed at the volume of it all.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is offering a webinar series in partnership with some outstanding keynote speakers from the National Charter Schools Conference, who experts in distance learning and creating engaging experiences for students online.
Check out vendors who specialize in distance learning software, tools, etc. via MAPSA's Provider Marketplace.
MAPSA has also curated a list of charter educators who specialize in distance learning, and have offered to serve as consultants for other schools in need. If you would like to speak with one of our consultants, please email us at email@example.com, and include your name, school, title and reason you'd like to speak with a fellow charter educator.
As schools and systems adapt to a distance learning instructional model, the aspirations for culture and learning can grow. Starting simple allows educators to find wins and improve. This phased outline of Aspirations for Student Culture & Learning can be a starting point for consideration.
Grab and Go Instructional Materials are readymade resources school leaders and teachers can use as a starting point or a model for their own materials. All resources can be used free of charge, and adaptations are allowed and encouraged.
In support of educators and schools, MDE is providing guidance for implementation of Executive Order 2020-35. The guidance is available for the following topics:
GVSU has created has created resources for students and families as they temporarily transition to online instruction and instruction at home. Resources are categorized by elementary grades, middle school, and high school.
More than 300 million students worldwide are having their education disrupted by the spread of Coronavirus. Schools and universities haven’t faced this level of disruption in generations, but unlike any time in the past, we have the ability to continue education even when schools close.
As schools and places of work make decisions about learning and working remotely, families and students are tasked with figuring out how to manage it all. In many, if not most, scenarios, online learning has become the solution of choice for schools that are stepping up and getting creative to support students.
Learning at home and online becomes less challenging with schedules and routines that work for the whole family.
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Check out our "Moving Forward with Purpose" recorded webinars, hosted by MAPSA with special guest experts who share key insights and strategies to consider as you strategize for the 2020-21 school year. Still have an unanswered FAQ? Contact MAPSA and let us know!