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COVID-19 update: Grants for teachers announced

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state Treasurer Rachael Eubanks on Tuesday announced that eligible Michigan teachers and support staff who worked additional time and incurred additional costs during the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic can receive a grant through two new grant programs.

Under the Teacher COVID-19 Grant and the Support Staff COVID-19 Grant programs, eligible teachers can receive up to $500 and eligible support staff can receive up to $250. The state of Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget provides $53 million for eligible K-12 classroom teachers and $20 million for eligible support staff.

The Teacher COVID-19 Grant Program was created in state law to recognize the additional time and additional costs classroom teachers in a school district or nonprofit nonpublic school spent to ensure learning continued when in-person instruction was suspended in the spring.

Full- and part-time classroom teachers who taught K-12 students in a school district or nonprofit nonpublic school classrooms during the 2019-2020 school year prior to the suspension of in-class activities are eligible.

To receive up to $500, teachers must have performed at least of 75% of their standard instruction workload in brick-and-mortar classrooms during the last school year prior to the suspension of in-person instruction on April 2.

The Support Staff COVID-19 Grant Program was created in state law to recognize the additional time eligible K-12 support staff spent outside of normal working hours, hazardous conditions encountered and additional costs incurred to provide services to students when in-person instruction was suspended in the spring.

School support staff includes a full- or part-time paraprofessionals, aides or non-instructional staff who work in a public school, which includes local and intermediate school districts as well as public school academies.

To receive up to $250, individuals must have performed at least of 75% of their workload in brick-and-mortar buildings during the last school year prior to the suspension of in-person instruction on April 2.

The Michigan Department of Treasury is working with the Michigan Department of Education, school entities and other education partners to implement the programs. Eligible teachers and support staff should consult the school entity where they worked during the 2019-2020 school year to ensure they receive a grant.

Grant funding checks are anticipated to be sent directly from the state Treasury Department to teachers and support staff in February.

For more information about the grant program, including answers to frequently asked questions, go to www.michigan.gov/TSSC19Grants.

Halloween event planned

The Special Events Committee of the Greek Council at Northern Michigan University still is planning to partner with the Office of the President to put on a Halloween event from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of NMU’s Physical Education Instructional Facility.

NMU recently restricted guests on campus because of the rise in COVID-19numbers in Marquette County and the region.

There will also be a food drive for the NMU Food Pantry, an on-campus service for any NMU-affiliated person. There will be a car with an NMU Food Pantry sign where people can donate non-perishable food items along with other necessities such as toiletries, hygiene product, paper towels and toilet paper.

NMU numbers upgraded

The most recent cumulative numbers on Northern Michigan University’s Safe on Campus dashboard, found at https://nmu.edu/safe-on-campus/, show that between July 27 and Tuesday, there have been 92 cumulative COVID-19 positive cases. These include include 33 on-campus students, 50 off-campus students and nine employees.

There are 16 active positive cases — three on-campus students, 11 off-campus students and two employees.

Prison COVID numbers up

The Michigan Department of Corrections has reported that as of Monday evening, the Marquette Branch Prison has 778 positive cases among inmates out of 1,042 tests given. A total of 437 cases are active.

A total of 141 Marquette Branch Prison staff have tested positive, the highest among state correctional facilities.

Aspirus holding trick-or-treating

As a means to provide families with some holiday fun and ensure safety, Aspirus invites the community to a drive-through trick-or-treating event in front of its Laurium clinic on Saturday morning.

Employees will be dressed up and handing out free goodie bags from 10 a.m. to noon to the first 100 families.

“Joy is one of our values at Aspirus and it’s our goal to spread some joy for families in our community with this event,” said Jenn Jenich-Laplander, regional communications and engagement lead for Aspirus, in a news release. “With Halloween looking different for some this year, we wanted to do something special for children and families.”

Participants must enter the parking lot from Osceola Street and will be directed to the clinic canopy entrance.

For more information, contact Jenn Jenich-Laplander at 906-337-6541. Participants are asked to stay in their vehicles and wear cloth face masks when interacting with Aspirus staff. Costumes are encouraged.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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