Gov. Whitmer signs Return to Learn bills

By Jake Draugelis | Posted Aug 20, 2020

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Thursday Governor Whitmer signed the “Return to Learn” trio of bills she and a bipartisan group of legislative leaders agreed to on Friday of last week.

The bill package outlines flexible instructional requirements for the 2020-2021 school year, and provides financial stability to districts by using last year’s pupil count to determine this year’s funding levels.

“Over the past week, we have taken crucial steps to help Michigan schools and families navigate the new school year. Alongside this bipartisan agreement, I announced nearly $65 million in federal funding to help give students, parents, educators, and support staff the resources they need to provide the best and most safe education possible,” saidGovernor Whitmer.

The legislation provides schools with flexibility around number of school days, instructional hours, student count and attendance. It also establishes a new COVID-19 learning plan which is intended to provide school districts with the maximum flexibility to adapt their programs to properly and safely respond to the pandemic. Districts will have to submit their plans, including educational goals and how instruction will be delivered. 

Districts will also have to describe how they will ensure students with disabilities will be provided with equitable access to instruction accommodation as well as describe how students will be provided with reasonable access to technology and internet if instruction is virtual.

The Return to Learn trio of bills, formally known as House Bills 5911, 5912 and 5913, were tie-barred and sponsored by Representative Gregory Markkanen, Representative Andrea Schroeder, and Representative Annette Glenn.