The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) sent an email to administrators Friday, March 20 saying online schooling during the COVID-19 outbreak will not count toward the hourly instructional time requirement.
This email comes nearly four days after Grosse Pointe Public Schools moved to online learning, utilizing Schoology to post assignments and pre-recorded lectures, among other activities.
“There is no mechanism to earn instructional time during a period of mandated school closure,” Deputy State Superintendent Vanessa Kessler said in her memo. “However, schools can and are encouraged to offer supplemental learning opportunities to students using distance learning methods as they see fit. MDE will not be granting seat time waiver requests during this time.”
According to MDE, the state mandates districts provide no lesss than 1,098 hours of instruction to students for 180 days annually.
“Closing our K-12 school buildings is the responsible choice that will minimize the risk of exposure for children, educators, and families and mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” Michigan State Superintendent Michael Rice said at a press conference last week. “The Department of Education will continue to work closely with our partners in state government to help our students and educators in each school district get through this time.”
GPPSS sent out an email March 20 urging students and parents to continue online learning in spite of the MDE memo.
“This memo by the Michigan Department of Education appears to be an effort to apply political pressure on the State Legislature and the Governor, neither of whom have addressed these important issues,” the email sent on behalf of the district by Rebecca Fannon said. “I would encourage you as faculty, students and parents, to stay the course. I believe this will be resolved in the political arena in Lansing.”
Video message from Principal Hamka regarding the MDE statement:
The Tower will continue to update this story as we learn of more information.