By Mike Kruzman /

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced that a roadmap for teachers and students to return to school will be released later month.

At her COVID-19 Response press conference Wednesday morning the governor shared optimism for schools returning to in-person learning this fall. Earlier this month, she formed a Return to School Advisory Council that was created to identify critical issues that must be addressed for ensuring a safe return to face-to-face education. Public health data will inform the state’s decisions on opening and closing schools, with those decisions potentially being given to the counties to decide.

Whitmer said they will release a Return to School Roadmap on June 30th. The roadmap will set minimum health and safety requirements, although districts may choose to enact more aggressive ones in consultation with their local public health officials. The minimum requirements will apply to all schools whether traditional public, charter, private, or parochial.

Whitmer recognized that required protocols will require money, and that preserving every dollar possible for K-12 education is her “number one priority.” Whitmer called upon the federal government for additional funding and flexibility to help the state continue to provide crucial services and ensure that resources are available for kids. The governor said that students, staff, families, and districts are going to have to be nimble and warned that we may have to backtrack if there is evidence of community spread.

Howell High School Teacher Greg Talberg is part of the Advisory Council and spoke at the press conference, reinforcing this. Talberg said it is important to be reminded that it was COVID-19 that closed the schools and continues to present risk in our communities. He said health and safety must be a top priority for getting back into buildings and classrooms, and that our actions today will impact the quality of learning experience for over 1.5-million students across the state, this fall.