MEA joined with AFT Michigan, the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators (MASA) and the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) on a joint statement calling on local districts and educators to work collaboratively on Preparedness Plans for fall learning.
“To create and maintain safe school communities, district leaders, building leaders, teachers, staff members, and a variety of stakeholders must work collaboratively and intentionally to craft a successful school reopening plan,” the statement said. “To accomplish this, districts need to strictly adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order and take all reasonable safety precautions backed by science, data, and public health evidence. Collaboration, collective accountability and efficient communication are key elements.”
The statement recommends that districts develop plans with students’ and staff members’ health as a top priority. To that end, “To the extent feasible, it is strongly advised that ‘highly recommended’ and ‘recommended’ protocols be adopted in districts’ Preparedness Plans because they are rooted in science and public health evidence.” It also specifically outlines that school employees need to be part of local decision-making and that the collective bargaining process must be followed.
The governor’s MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap, issued in late June, was developed by an advisory council of educators and health experts. The roadmap requires districts to develop various plans for both remote and face-to-face learning, depending upon which of six phases of reopening is designated in a particular region at a given time. The governor’s plan includes required elements in each phase, along with strongly recommended and recommended safety protocols. In phases 1-3, no face-to-face learning is allowed.
Districts must post preparedness plans online, along with a document explaining rationales for each strongly recommended safety precaution that is not included, the joint labor-management statement said.
In addition, MEA published a Q&A last week addressing member questions about potential return to learning – emphasizing that schools should only resume in-person classes if health professionals deem it’s safe and school employees have a voice in reopening plans.