Can Michigan School District’s Themselves Decide To Close In Person School?
There is a letter circulating around Michigan asking elected officials to require schools to provide five full days of in-person school per week this year. That prompted many to ask if school districts themselves can close the school to in-person classroom training. According to an article in the news site Michigan Capitol Confidential they cannot.
Nicholas Bagley, a U-M professor and former special counsel to Gov. Whitmer stated that “public school districts lack the authority to decide on their own whether to close this school year due to the coronavirus”. In fact, he tweeted:
“To all 1,270 of you who signed an open letter urging Michigan lawmakers to require schools to provide five full days of in-person school per week this coming year, I have good news. It happened…The law doesn’t say that in so many words. In fact, it barely mentions COVID-19 at all. But if you work through the language carefully, that’s what it means.”
Whitmer signed the 2021-2022 school budget last July and in the budget, the following wording was included:
“To be eligible to receive state aid ... each district shall provide at least 1,098 hours and 180 days of pupil instruction.”
The question is: is Whitmer’s signature on that budget worth the paper it is written on or not?
We will see if push comes to shove this upcoming year.
As a side note, I have kept a daily record of the following Michigan Covid-19 numbers reported by the state of Michigan:
- Total positive Covid-19 cases
- Number of increased positive cases from the previously reported numbers
- Total number of deaths either from or with Covid-19
- Number of increased deaths from the previously reported numbers
The last numbers reported by Michigan were on August 6, 2021. They reported that since August 3, 2021, there were zero deaths over those three days. They did report 3 deaths from what they call a Vital Records review.