News from Thrun Law

November 9, 2020

On September 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) issued two Q&A guidance docu­ments on commonly asked special education and Section 504 questions in light of COVID-19.

Implementation of IDEA Part B Provision of Services in the COVID-19 Environment” reminds state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) that “no matter...

October 30, 2020

On September 30, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed into law Public Act 165, amending the State School Aid Act (SSAA). Our Sep­tember 30, 2020 E-Blast explained certain urgent aspects of this leg­islation. This article discusses other important provisions of PA 165, including additional funding for increased enrollment, local produce purchasing, student meal debt, teacher retention, and funding to create a “Michigan Learning Channel.”

Increased Enrollment

New SSAA Section...

October 26, 2020

Revised School Code Section 1613 allows a school district or ISD to authorize local taxing jurisdictions to levy half or all school taxes on July 1 by filing a summer tax resolution with the local taxing jurisdictions. If your district currently has a summer tax levy and would like it to continue in 2021, your district’s board of education must adopt a resolution and file a copy of that resolu­tion with each city and township within your district’s boundaries on or before December 31, 2020...

October 19, 2020

In our June 25, 2020 School Law Notes, we addressed the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) “Letter of Impending Enforcement Action” issued against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC). In that letter, OCR deter­mined that CIAC’s policy of allowing transgender stu­dents who were “biologically male” to compete on female athletic teams and in female athletic events violated Title IX by discriminating against women.

In those same...

October 12, 2020

On September 8, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its FAQs on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and COVID-19. The guidance addresses topics such as employee health screening, medical information confidentiality, and reasonable accommodations. It is available here:

...

October 5, 2020

On August 26, 2020, MDE’s Office of Special Education (MDE-OSE) released return-to-school guidance (Guidance), which is available here:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/ReturntoSchool_699307_7.pdf

This long-awaited Guidance addresses “special education priority topics” for fall 2020 and contains FAQs addressing obligations...

September 25, 2020

As discussed in our August 19, 2020 E-Blast, Public Act 149 of 2020 (PA 149) requires schools to administer at least two “bench­mark assessments” to students in grades K-8 during the 2020-21 school year. On August 21, 2020, MDE released a memo providing additional guidance on these assessments.

Under PA 149, a benchmark assessment is any of the following:

  • A benchmark assessment from an MDE-approved provider.
  • A benchmark assessment that “contains progress monitor­...
September 21, 2020

Resolving a decades-long insurance dispute, the Michigan Supreme Court recently clarified that subcontractor mistakes damaging an insured’s work product may trigger commercial general liability insurance policy coverage. Michigan courts have historically denied coverage for damage claims related to a contractor's own work, permitting recovery only for damage to another’s property. Those rulings significantly limited insurance claims for a contractor’s defective work.

Now, per ...

September 17, 2020

School officials are making many difficult decisions heading into the 2020-21 school year. One area that has generated many questions is how schools should implement the Michigan Return to School Roadmap’s student face covering guidelines.

With limited exceptions, schools in Phase 4 must require face coverings for: (1) all students when on a school bus and in hallways and indoor common areas; (2) students in grades 6 and up when in classrooms; and (3) students in grades K-5 unless...

September 14, 2020

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s jury verdict that awarded $400,000 to a teacher for retaliation in violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Davis v Jackson Pub Schs, Case No. 344203 (July 2, 2020).

Pennie Davis was an art teacher and art curriculum chair at Jackson High School (District). Davis confronted a student after she overheard him making threatening statements about her. Davis directed the student to stop and go to the...

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