Governor Whitmer recently issued a 63-page roadmap on how to return students to school in the fall of 2020 with recommendations and requirements for implementation according to what phase of safety a particular region is in. The southwest region of the state is currently in level 4 but a pushback to level 3 is looming if the number of new cases does not decrease. Schools are actively planning how to address the new year and the governor’s plan provides both detailed mandates and suggested best practices.
Her plan has six phases and in phases 1-3, there is no physical return to school in the immediate future. All instruction would be remote, requiring school districts to ensure that every student has the technology to interface with their class via the internet. Phases 4-6 implement varying levels of precautions, mandatory and recommended, for face-to-face instruction. These precautions range the gamut of school activities. In phase 4, the requirements are for daily temperature takings from home, requiring face coverings of all students medically capable and over the age of 5, and prohibiting indoor weight conditioning of student athletes, to name a few. In phase 5, the requirements are scaled back to recommended and strongly recommended. In this section, there is further discussion of how to safely return students to in-person education. Phase 6 is incredibly brief on its instruction and denotes its operations as post-pandemic, providing only that “safety protocols are no longer required” in a significant proportion of the areas discussed.
Adding to the complications of how remote instruction might work, or what additional supplies children will require to attend school this fall, are the issues of parenting time and custody under the aegis of COVID-19. Back to school and all it entails can be overwhelming when parents are cooperating and there is no dispute over who will be picking the children up from soccer or band practice. Add a new or ongoing conflict of what the best interests of the children are and one might quickly decide there are no answers. At Arnson VanTol Law, PLC, we have the experience and answers you need when faced with the new challenges this schoolyear brings. When you are uncertain what your next best steps are, call us.