Theis statement on MDE not counting online schooling during coronavirus shutdown

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, released the following statement on Saturday after the state Department of Education announced Friday that students receiving online instruction during the coronavirus emergency will not be able to count it toward required annual instructional time.

“Like many parents and students throughout Livingston and Washtenaw counties, as well as our governor, I was shocked and dismayed by the announcement from state education officials that students receiving online instruction because of the coronavirus pandemic will not be able to count it toward official instruction time.

“During this extraordinary time in our state, our school districts, educators, and parents are doing everything they can to ensure our students continue to receive a quality education. As leaders, the state Department of Education should be doing everything it can to facilitate that continued learning — not discourage it.

“At this point, none of us knows how long this crisis is going to last, nor its impact on our children’s education. I encourage teachers, school leaders and parents to continue to do their best to educate children in spite of the unprecedented situation we are faced with.

“It is essential that we all work together to do what we can to overcome these hurdles. I echo what the governor said last night and will do my part to work with her administration and the Department of Education to address any statutory hurdles that may prevent schools from being credited when they provide online learning.”

Theis serves as chairwoman of the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee and is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on K-12 and Michigan Department of Education.