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Handling Coronavirus News

March 12, 2020

Handling Coronavirus News

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, it was announced that two individuals tested presumptive positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the first confirmed cases in the Michigan.

As federal, state, and local public health officials take steps to mitigate the spread of the virus, board members and school leaders can take some reasonable precautions to protect staff and students, and help keep students engaged in learning. These include:

  • Stay informed. The state emergency operations center has been activated to allow state, local, and federal agencies to coordinate statewide readiness and communications related to the virus. The most current information is available at: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus. School leaders should read and follow the most up-to-date guidance issued for schools posted on this site.
     
  • Be connected locally. School leaders should ensure that their contacts at their local health department are current. Decisions like whether to ask a student or staff member to stay home, or whether to close school for some time, will most likely be made on a case-by-case basis in coordination with your local health department. Be proactive and make sure you know who to talk to and when.                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  • Review policies. Boards members, in coordination with school leadership and legal counsel or their policy update services, may wish to review emergency operations plans and policies related to communicable diseases. Ensure that policies are up-to-date and your school is prepared to implement them with fidelity.
     
  • Remain prepared to govern. Board members and school leaders should be prepared in the event that boards are unable to meet or a quorum cannot be achieved. “Virtual” participation in board meetings is not permitted at this time--a board member must be physically present to be able to vote at a meeting or have his or her presence counted for the purposes of a quorum. In-person GVSU School Consultant participation will be limited due to university restrictions. However, board members:
    • Should prepare for the potential of longer than usual meetings to ensure that all needed actions are taken.
    • Can and should continue to be engaged by receiving information about their school’s academic, organizational, fiscal, and health and safety condition outside of meetings.
    • Should be cautious about engaging in discussion, deliberation, or coming to a consensus while receiving updates to prevent an inadvertent violation of the Open Meetings Act.
       
  • Plan for learning. The possibility could exist that the ability of students to come to your school will be disrupted. School leaders and teachers are encouraged to plan for how student learning could continue at home if this disruption occurs. This type of planning will also be helpful for events like snowstorms, facilities issues, or other widespread illnesses that occur from time to time. The CSO School Support Team is a resource to help prepare for this.

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Page last modified March 12, 2020