08-20-2020 While Michigan coronavirus cases plateau MHSAA says football’s a no; Coloma police contra

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED… The new library appears to be in quiet expectation of the delivery of some 35,000 books next week. Volunteers will carry boxes of books from the library on Franklin Street to the new library on Tuesday, August 25.

While Michigan coronavirus cases plateau MHSAA says football’s a no

By Jon Bisnett

Michigan’s COVID-19 case count has shown a welcomed flattening of the curve as of late after posting a daily new case of over 1,100 on Aug. 13 to just well under 500 only a week later. Given some push-pull for testing and reporting inconsistencies, the latest data is a positive note, while 19 states are reporting an increase in their counts.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a plan late last week that will provide more than four million masks to people of Michigan. The initiative, jointly funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will send more than 2.5 million masks to Detroit, low-income schools and some COVID-19 testing sites and the remainder throughout the state to areas identified as where they are needed the most.

Reacting to the most recent data from Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), which oversees the state’s prison system, a new Executive Order from the Governor mandates that incarcerated people be tested for COVID-19 upon entry to, transfer, and release from prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities. MDOC has identified 435 active COVID-19 cases, its largest spike since the spring.

MHSAA news

As many had been predicting, the Michigan High School Athletic Association made the last-minute call to cancel the fall high school football season with the intent of moving to March of 2021 with a limited schedule, shortening the regular season from the usual nine games.

“At the end of the day, we did everything we could to find a path forward for football this fall,” MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said. “There is just too much uncertainty and too many unknowns to play football this fall.”

Coming on the heels of the NCAA’s most widely watched and attended conferences canceling all fall sports, the MHSAA still has yet to rule on soccer, tennis, cross-country and volleyball. A green-light is expected for cross-country and tennis, identified as low-risk, while volleyball and soccer are likely to be sacked due to the indoor nature of volleyball and player to player contact of soccer. Golf, swimming and diving are also considered as low-risk among the districts that offer those sports. A decision is expected this week.

Federal COVID relief

The new round of COVID support remains stalled on Capitol Hill, as legislators turn their focus towards pre-election issues with the United States Post Office, leaving thousands in limbo over expanded unemployment benefits and eviction protection among many concerns. The GOP is said to be presenting a new slimmed-down bill which includes unemployment supplements and small-business assistance.

Back to School

Tri-City Area schools submitted their detailed reopening plans to the Michigan Department of Education last week, the nuance of which can be found on their individual websites, having been already communicated to their district stakeholders.

Just last Saturday, the Michigan Legislature finalized a package of bills, HB5911, HB5912 and HB5913. The legislation finalizes guidelines for statewide school districts already planning to restart using either online-only, in-person or blended instruction. But many educators and district administrators around the state object to what they call “rushed” last-minute legislation, concerned it creates more paperwork while offering no flexibility on days and hours for students. Addi