Michigan continues to halt in-person high school classes another 12 days

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference Monday, Dec. 7. (State of Michigan)

High schools in Michigan will remain closed for in-person instruction for 12 more days starting Wednesday, as concerns rise over COVID-19 cases in the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday afternoon.

“The additional 12 days will allow the department to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan,” according to a statement from the state.

Students have been learning virtually since mid-November, when the state instituted a three-week pause that placed greater restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gyms. K-8 students were not affected.

The state announced the three-week pause on Nov. 15. It was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

In addition to halting in-person learning at high schools and higher education institutions, the pause has shut down theaters, stadiums, arenas, casinos, group fitness classes, and organized sports. Restaurants and bars can open only for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery.

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Changes to the dress code, the district’s priorities for student discipline, grade configurations, and transportation will all start in the 2024-25 school year.

Seeking culturally relevant lessons or hoping to better serve student needs, many educators make changes to curriculum. Experts worry about drifting too far from standards.

The public school district rehired Mary Bennett and Raymond Lindgren to consult on career and technical education programs and to support ongoing school construction projects.

A report from the testing group NWEA also estimates that Hispanic students in particular need more academic support during their recovery from the pandemic.

State officials acknowledged that some students still have commutes over an hour, but said they believe the district has made ‘sufficient progress.’

The vice president has championed more funding for high-poverty schools, Head Start, and school desegregation efforts. Those positions will likely face political headwinds if she wins.