Stamas supports Return to Learn Plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas is applauding the newly announced Return to Learn Plan to ensure the safety of Michigan 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.

“To protect children from COVID-19, teachers and students across Michigan transitioned from going to school to learning from home, and I commend them for their resilience and hard work,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Before our students return to school, we must do everything we can to provide them as safe a learning environment as possible.

“I strongly support the bicameral plan to invest federal CARES Act funds to help all Michigan students continue to learn safely by ensuring our schools have the necessary resources to improve health standards in the classroom and enhance remote learning options.”

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 students, educators and local control,” Stamas said. “It also provides our teachers with $500 in hazard pay in appreciation of the tremendous time and effort they made to ensure their students continued to learn after school buildings were suddenly closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.”