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Executive Order 2020-35 FAQs (No longer effective)
The most up-to-date guidance on these and other mitigation strategies is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
This matter is rapidly evolving and MDHHS may provide updated guidance.
Executive Order 2020-35
Provision of K-12 education during the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year
Q: Does the order’s suspension of in-person instruction prohibit homeschooling?
Suspending In-Person Instruction
- Q: Can school districts resume in-person instruction if the State of Emergency ceases before the end of the scheduled 2019-2020 school year?
- Q: Under the order, are districts allowed an additional five professional development days despite having used them through the 2019-2020 school year?
- Q: Does Executive Order 2020-35 impact “virtual”, cyber, or otherwise 100% online schools?
A: No. These schools should continue to educate students in the manner the schools had been operating before the public health emergency.
- Q: Does Executive Order 2020-35 address programs like GSRP, Early On, Early Childhood Special Education, or Home Visiting Programs that may be operated by school districts?
A: No. The order does not explicitly address programs like GSRP, Early On, Early Childhood Special Education, or Home Visiting Programs that may be operated by school districts. These programs should comply with previous and forthcoming applicable state and federal guidance in terms of continuing programming for young children.
Continuity of Learning & COVID-19 Response Plan
- Q: May a school district retain a student who has the capability of participating in the continuity of learning plan but does not participate?
A: Under the order students must not be penalized for an inability to participate in the Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan. The manner in which grades are assigned or credits are awarded is a local decision.
- Q: Are districts required to continue to pay third-party contracted employees and vendors?
A: In general, no. However, districts should review their contractual obligations in making this assessment. Districts should consider paying contractors/vendors if they are able to meaningfully contribute to the Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan.
- Q: Are GSRP or other early childhood educators impacted by this Order?
A: No. However, districts may consider including these programs in their Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plans.
- Q: Are districts required to pay stipends to teachers/staff for work not performed?
A: It depends. Districts should review collective bargaining agreements in making this determination.
- Q: Are districts required to pay staff funded by revenue other than state or federal funds?
A: In general, no. However, districts should review their contracts and collective bargaining agreements in making this assessment. Districts should consider paying these staff if they are able to meaningfully contribute to the Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan.
- Q: What does “collaborate” mean for the purposes of Executive Order 2020-35?
A: Continuity of Learning and Covid-19 Response Plans should not be considered “pilot programs.” District administrators shall collaborate with school board members, teachers and staff, and any representatives of staff in a meaningful and substantive manner to develop the Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan. Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plans should be consistent with collective bargaining agreements.
District employees permitted in district buildings
- Q: Can districts require in-person work?
A: It depends. Districts should promote remote work to the fullest extent possible and may only require employees and contractors to work on-site if in-person work is absolutely necessary to conduct minimum basic school operations or facilitate Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan. All in-person work should be consistent with the guidelines set out section 3 of the order.
- Q: Do the limitations on in-person instruction prohibit a teacher from visiting a pupil so long as they maintain social distancing requirements?
A: In-person instruction, including visits with social distancing, should be avoided whenever possible.
- Q: Can districts begin or continue school construction projects?
A: In general, no. While some limited forms of construction are permissible under Executive Order 2020-42, “Stay Home Stay Safe” or any order that may follow, school construction projects do not generally qualify under these limited circumstances. However, emergency maintenance and repairs are permitted to restore functionality of district buildings.
For constructions projects that have already begun, workers are only permitted to preserve the current condition of the project, such as putting in place temporary security and weatherization measures. All other in-person work on school construction projects must cease until the restrictions of the order are lifted and normal operations resume.
- Q: Can a district extend this school year (2019-20) and/or start next school year earlier than anticipated (2020-21)?
A: Yes. Under Executive Order 2020-35, districts may choose to adopt a balanced calendar (or year-round) instructional program for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year and/or for the 2020-21 school year, including starting the 2020-21 school year before Labor Day without requesting an additional waiver. Districts that do not exercise this option should not “end” their Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan before their previously adopted school year end date. These decisions are subject to collective bargaining.
- Q: May school districts donate materials and supplies to community organizations, even if those supplies were purchased with state funds?
A: Yes, districts may donate PPE (gowns, gloves, masks), supplies (cleaning/disinfectant supplies, hand sanitizers, and other materials) to organizations in their community that need them – and Governor Whitmer encourages them to do so as soon as possible.