Lawmakers Call For Early End To School Year Amid Virus Pandemic

WWJ News
March 26, 2020 - 11:29 am

LANSING (WWJ) - Should Michigan call it an early end to the school year amid the coronavirus outbreak? If you ask two former teachers turned Democratic lawmakers, the answer is "yes."

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri, who represents Brownstown, and Sen. Dayna Polehanki, who represents Livonia, are calling for an early end to the school year given the projected course of COVID-19 and the need to provide certainty and a path forward for districts and families.

The lawmakers have key pieces of legislation that would help the state complete this closure in a responsible way, including forgiving days, fixing teacher evaluations, and addressing third grade retention, but emphasized that the quickest and most decisive way to close schools would be through action on Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s part.

“We are ready and willing to address this legislatively,” Camilleri and Polehanki said in a joint statement. “But to act faster and provide clarity for our school districts, we urge the Governor to close schools for the rest of the year to protect our students, teachers, and families.”

Polehanki and Camilleri applauded Whitmer on recent actions to protect students and emphasized the importance of ensuring teachers, administrators and support staff still receive the pay and benefits they deserve if the school year is cut short.

The lawmakers also called for immediate decisive action to allow districts to plan for the summer and beyond.

“Above all else, we need a swift decision so districts will know where they stand,” said Camilleri and Polehanki. “We know that deciding to close school would lead to many additional questions, and we are ready to work with the Governor’s office, the Department of Education, and our local school districts to make this work for everyone.”

 All public, private and boarding schools in Michigan have been closed since Monday, March 16 under an executive order issued by the Governor. School buildings are currently scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6.