MacGregor supports new ‘Return to Learn’ plan

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Peter MacGregor said he supports a joint Senate-House of Representatives initiative called the Return to Learn plan that was announced Tuesday.

The plan would utilize federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to provide relief to school districts and outlines priorities for safely reopening in the fall.

“West Michigan educators were thrown into an impossible situation of completely rethinking how to do their jobs in a very short period of time in response to COVID-19, and they exceeded all expectations with class and professionalism,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “This plan recognizes those difficulties and provides significant financial support to help school districts and teachers adapt to the new era of distance learning, while also focusing on ensuring classrooms are safe and healthy learning environments when the time comes for students to return for in-person instruction.

“Learning doesn’t stop when a student leaves the classroom, and this plan recognizes that. Some parents may not feel safe sending their kids back to the classroom as the public health crisis continues. Allowing local school districts to partner with their local health departments to develop health and safety standards that make sense to their community is the right thing to do.

“Our plan will empower school districts to develop flexible learning plans and maximize student learning.”

The plan would invest a total of $1.3 billion, including an $800 per-pupil payment to K-12 schools to implement distance learning plans and health and safety measures to return students safely to the classroom, and $80 million to intermediate school districts to assist schools in coordinating and implementing distance learning plans and safety measures. It also would provide teachers a one-time $500 payment — $53 million total — to help cover costs incurred from transitioning to distance learning in response to COVID-19.

“The education community is an integral part of what makes our state a great place to live and raise a family,” MacGregor said. “I will continue to do my part to ensure teachers get the tools and resources they need to effectively educate the next generation of Michiganders.”

The plan is expected to be referred to the respective Senate and House education committees for consideration.