Online School

Michigan superintendent calls for increasing required school days

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

Lansing — Michael Rice, Michigan’s state superintendent, wants lawmakers to increase the number of required school days in the wake of COVID-19, saying “more time is the clearest need” for students.

Rice made the comment during a Tuesday joint hearing of the House and Senate education committees. The meeting came as schools across the state grapple with how to offer in-person instruction and effectively teach students amid fears of a spreading virus.

“Students and staff need more days coming out of a pandemic,” Rice said. “The state Legislature should raise the minimum number of days to underscore the need for more time.”

Michigan schools have been required to provide at least 180 days of instruction. But that number was too low even before COVID-19 hit, Rice said.

With the virus overhauling education and leaving dozens of districts with only online learning for nearly a year, most students are receiving less instruction time than in any similar period previously, the superintendent said.

Districts need to consider whether all students need additional instruction time in the next school year and whether certain groups, like specific grades or vulnerable students, need even more time. He didn’t identify how many days should be added to the current requirement.

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt