“Some districts in some cases had to scramble to try and get this done in order to receive full funding,” said Peter Spadafore, deputy executive director for external relations at the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators.
He said most districts had a plan to satisfy the governor’s goal of offering face-to-face instruction by March 1, but the recent specificity of 20 hours was a barrier. A district whose teachers taught half the day in person and the other half virtually, he said, might be at 15 hours. That meant they had to switch to doing both for some hours, which may not be as effective, or there were problems keeping kids in cohorts or adhering to physical distancing.
“It wasn’t a well-thought-out provision that recognized the reality of what’s going on in Michigan classrooms across the state,” Spadafore said.
Rep. Regina Weiss, an Oak Park Democrat, said both the 20-hour requirement and the implementation date are “arbitrary.” Albert, however, contended that schools had “plenty of time” to prepare and it is “wholly unacceptable” if they had not figured out how to safely return by Monday.
Ann Arbor Public Schools, the state’s fourth-largest district and one of the last to reopen for in-person classes, passed on nearly $1.7 million in state funding rather than guarantee the 20-hour option for all students. Some students will return later this week, with more following after spring break.