Sen. MacDonald supports Return to Learn Plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald announced his support of the Return to Learn Plan to ensure the safety of Macomb County students as learning resumes in the fall.

The plan was unveiled on Tuesday by the chairs of the House and Senate education committees and would invest $1.3 billion in restricted federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to ensure schools can reopen safely with both in-classroom and remote learning options.

“I want to once again applaud teachers and parents in Macomb and throughout Michigan for their tremendous sacrifices and efforts to ensure students could continue learning after the closure of schools due to COVID-19,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Education is critical to success, and we owe it to all our children to ensure they can receive a great education as safely and effectively as possible.

“I strongly support the Return to Learn Plan as a responsible way to use restricted federal COVID-19 funds to help our schools improve safety in classrooms and offer better remote learning options so that all our students can safely return to school this fall.”

The plan would provide schools $800 per student to implement coronavirus-related health measures, such as reducing class sizes, adopting a robust distance learning plan, enhancing sanitation procedures, purchasing personal protective equipment, and making building enhancements to improve safety. Resources would be available for all efforts undertaken after the statewide closure of classrooms on March 16.

The Return to Learn Plan would also redefine “attendance” to mean “engaged in instruction” rather than “physically present” to give students the opportunity to learn remotely, have school districts work with local health departments to establish safety requirements for extracurricular activities and sports in addition to regular school safety measures, and provide $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools with distance learning plans and safety measures.

“This plan protects our students, supports our schools and provides more local flexibility on key decisions, like when to start the new school year,” MacDonald said. “It also would give our hardworking teachers $500 in overtime and hazard pay in appreciation of their dedication to continuing the education of their students during the COVID-19 health crisis.”