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Governor Whitmer details return-to-school plans, seeking to expand student opportunities

U.S. Department of Education |

Governor Gretchen Whitmer rolled out a “blueprint" Wednesday outlining return-to-school plans, but that the blueprint is not an order.

The state has almost four billion dollars coming in federal COVID 19 recovery funds to help schools return to in-person learning.

The blueprint is based on the work of a task force that examined the challenges facing schools during and before the pandemic. Its recommendations cover a range of issues from mental health support for college students to universal pre-K.

“Budgets are a reflection of values," Whitmer said. "How we invest state funds must be based on what the people need".

The governor told the group “Mothering Justice” returning to the pre-pandemic status quo is not an option, and that billions of dollars earmarked for the state in federal COVID-19 recovery funds represent a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to address racial and economic inequality.

“They will allow us to create quality jobs, invest in our nation’s children, and ensure we have paid family and medical leave protections that will enable Michiganders to care for their loved ones," Whitmer said.

The governor and the Legislature’s Republican leaders are still in the process of bargaining over how to use the money.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.