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House passes Glenn bill to count online learning toward school aid funding
RELEASE|July 23, 2020
Contact: Annette Glenn

Plan includes robust distance learning, safety measures and flexibility

The Michigan House of Representatives Wednesday approved a plan spearheaded by state Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, to ensure the safety of Michigan students as learning resumes in the fall.

The “Return to Learn” plan empowers local school districts and health departments to work together to develop health and safety standards tailored to be most effective for their unique local needs.

Glenn’s measure, House Bill 5913 – approved 55 to 49 – is part of that plan and would specifically redefine the word “attendance” for purposes of receiving state per-pupil funding to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present” in the classroom, allowing schools to innovate and offer students a wide array of options for learning both in the classroom and online. In addition, Glenn’s plan will create an oversight committee to ensure districts have as much flexibility as possible.

“During these uncertain times as we prepare for the next school year, it’s important that teachers and administrators in Auburn, Midland, Pinconning, and Sanford have the flexibility to begin instruction as safely and as quickly as possible,” said Glenn, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid and Department of Education. “The pandemic has affected different parts of the state in very different ways, and we must recognize that what works in Detroit or Grand Rapids might not be what’s best for students in Bay and Midland counties.”

Glenn said parents and students participated in remote learning options during the COVID-19 closure late last winter and spring. Successful virtual options and new options should continue to be available as districts determine what works for them.

In addition to allowing school districts to make decisions based on what’s best for their students locally, working closely with local health departments to establish appropriate safety protocols, the Return to Learn plan would let school districts start instruction whenever they choose without having to obtain a waiver to bypass Michigan’s Labor Day start requirement.

“Whether students return to school, online or in person, we must ensure they receive the quality education they deserve,” Glenn said. “As a mother and grandmother, I stand behind this plan that requires school districts to work alongside health care and public health professionals. It’s the best solution for protecting our students’ health and ensuring their education continues successfully.”

The House-approved plan now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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