Citing alarming increases in Michigan's COVID-19 case numbers, Governor Whitmer is urging Michigan high schools to shift to remote instruction and schools to suspend all youth sports for two weeks. The recommendation came at a press conference this morning where the Governor also called on non-school based youth sports leagues to suspend play and on restaurant patrons to get take-out or dine outdoors as much as possible. There is NO CHANGE in the current epidemic order, so today's announcement is simply a set of recommendations.
With the MHSAA basketball finals and SAT, PSAT, and WorkKeys testing looming next week and local health departments still in a position to impose additional restrictions beyond what is required by the state, let's consider what implications this might have, especially in light of the recent response from the U.S. Department of Education (USDoE) to Michigan's request for a testing waiver.
Earlier this year, Michigan applied to the USDoE for a waiver from both the federal accountability measures tied to federally mandated testing and the requirement to test students at all this school year. Over the last two weeks, MDE has gotten their responses: USDoE has agreed to waive all accountability tied to testing (including the requirement that districts test 95% of all students and subgroups), but denied the request to waive mandatory testing. Additionally, there was no action at the state level to waive state laws that mandate testing and those remain in place as they would in a normal school year.
For school districts, the practical implications of this are that districts are required by state law to "administer" state assessments to all students. Schools will have their participation rates reported on the state report card as a data point. But neither schools nor students face any consequences beyond that if, for example, a district has less than 95% of students report to test.
With regard to what might happen if a local health department requires your district to suspend in-person instruction on test day, we know that there are multiple makeup testing dates (or testing windows) for SAT, PSAT, and WorkKeys. You can see the full testing calendar here.
It is not clear what might happen if the make-up dates are insufficient to address the needs of districts. MASSP will continue to work with state officials to work through the details should it become necessary and will keep members informed of future developments.