Governor Whitmer Issues Executive Order Outlining Learning for the Remainder of the School Year


Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order today marking the end of the 2019-20 schoolyear’s in-person meetings. While the executive order also removes some of the state-wide benchmarks for learning such as the Michigan Merit Exam, the order does not end the schoolyear entirely.

According to the Executive Order published on michigan.gov, school districts will be given more autonomy in determining the best direction for their school district amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

School districts like Hamtramck Public Schools or Dearborn Public Schools will need to set up an official plan for engaging students of every ability and socioeconomic class.

So in a high-poverty area, school districts will need to come up with a plan for ensuring “to the extent feasible that pupils have access to a connected device capable of accessing the electronic instruction and must not penalize a pupil for the pupil’s inability to fully participate,” the executive order says.

David Mustonen, Communications Director for Dearborn Public Schools says that the school district is working toward ensuring compliance with the Executive Order, but that many of the criteria outlined in the Executive Order have already been met.

“We’ve tried to address that by delivering instructional materials in different ways,” Mustonen said. “And also we’ve handed out over 3500 Chromebooks throughout the district to families, so that students may have at least a device to get the access.”

The Executive Order will essentially close Public School Buildings for everyone who is not district staff. Staff will be able to access the buildings and facilities in the most limited capacity that will be able to maintain operations.

The Order will also be providing schools with a break from nation-wide standardized testing through the SAT. Juniors this year will be able to take the SAT exam in the next school year.

Districts will be able to develop their own process for the graduation of students in their senior year. For those who are failing a required class, school districts will be required to provide the opportunity for students to show that they are proficient within the school year.

Special Education initiatives will also continue to the best of each Districts ability, while maintaining social distancing practices. The districts will be expected to continue giving a quality alternative education to students with disabilities according to the training and resources that the districts have available.