Great Start Collaborative

Hillsdale County - July 2020

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Cool down with some MUD Play in July!

Mud Play is important for children to develop and practice their fine and gross motor skills, increase awareness of their senses, particularly touch, improve hand/eye coordination and develop their social and emotional skills, including taking turns and leading/following directions.



PLAY Pick-UP Event


Story Walk




We count because you matter. Your family matters. Everyone matters.

We want to remind you that our community is counting on you to ensure important community programs are funded for the next 10 years. Counting everyone in the community is especially important after the most recent pandemic that has touched everyone’s lives in one way or another.

As of June 11, 2020, the Michigan Self-Response rate was at 67.4% while Hillsdale County is only at 63.2%. In order to get the critical dollars that we so desperately need, we ask that you please complete the Census. It’s easy, confidential, and takes just 10 minutes.

Your answers on the 2020 Census cannot be shared with other government agencies, organizations, or people. To fill out the Census, please visit


Fresh Food Distribution


Join Us!

The Great Start Collaborative (GSC) is a network of agencies and community members who meet and network 9 times per year to ensure every child in Hillsdale County is safe, healthy, and ready to succeed in school and life.

The GSC has 3 subcommittees:

Early Care/Learning & Literacy Subcommittee

The Early Care/Learning & Literacy Subcommittee focuses on young children's early learning experiences and the promotion of literacy beginning at birth. The priority of this subcommittee is to promote the importance of quality childcare and preschool opportunities for all Hillsdale County children and to support developmentally appropriate literacy skills through 3rd grade.

Community Resources Subcommittee
The Community Resources Subcommittee focuses on ways in which Hillsdale County can collaborate to increase awareness of available community supports. In addition, ongoing consideration is given in this group to gaps within the county for services that could promote the health and well-being of young children and their families.

Pediatric & Family Health Subcommittee
The Pediatric & Family Health Subcommittee focuses on comprehensive physical health and child development services including screening, assessment, and intervention, as well as timely and appropriate referrals for specialized services.


Sharing from Mike Latvis, Executive Director of Legislative Affairs, Wayne RESA

The Governor released a 70-page guidance document (The Roadmap), a new Executive Order, information about a video the Governor filmed, and a one-pager meant to be helpful for parents.

There is a lot to unpack, so here are the high-level points:

  • The Governor will mention that the goal is that schools are open
  • Executive Order 65 (EO 65) that addresses days/hours, seat time, etc is extended through September 30th or until the legislature passes legislation addressing each for the remainder of the year - legal does not believe the Governor’s authority can extend past that date.
  • The Governor will formally request State Superintendent Rice to request a waiver from US ED for all federal assessments
District Plans
  • Every public/nonpublic must develop a plan, informed by the roadmap, that determines their plans for learning under three scenarios dictated by the MI Safe Start Plan Phases. The plans must be approved by local school board and posted on the front page of the website. There will be a note encouraging transparency for parents.
    • ISDs may be asked to compile plans and transmit them to MDE - still being worked out, but we can expect something like the COL submission
  • District plans must be approved by August 15th or 7 days before the start of the school year (summer programs are not included in this - they fall under EO 65)
    • Schools cannot reopen without an approved plan
  • MI Safe Start Plan Phased Scenarios
    • Phases 1,2 and 3 - full remote learning
      • Most basic parts of EO 65 continue
    • Phases 4 - In-Person learning with a mixture of non-negotiable mandates from the state and strong recommendations
      • Non-negotiable mandates largely focused on face coverings, no indoor assemblies of more than one class.
      • Facial coverings
        • Required to be worn at all times (outside of eating) for all staff and visitors (visitors are strongly discouraged)
        • Required for grades 6-12 - must be worn at all time outside of eating
        • K-5 - facial coverings or none if strict cohorting (same kids together all day)
      • Allows for flexibility/local control as it relates to spacing students and class size
    • Phase 5 and 6
      • Includes extended flexibility
      • No non-negotiable mandates from the state, only strong recommendations

NOTE: Plans for phases 4 and 5/6 can be the same - their goal is that schools remain open.

Positive Covid Test
  • Districts/Schools must fully cooperate with local health departments. This is especially true when a positive case is identified, as the local health department will determine what should happen - close a classroom, quarantine, cleaning, contract tracing, etc.
  • The Roadmap/EO lays out a strong process for what to do, but local health departments will make decisions
  • No capacity limits on buses, however, locals could make a different decision
  • There will be guidance on cleaning procedures, windows open when possible, masks required
Screening Procedures
  • Temperature tests will not be required, though districts may choose to do so
  • Staff will self-attest that they are asymptomatic every day
  • Outside guests (including parents) are strongly discouraged
    • Must self-attest they are asymptomatic and wear face-covering at all times
  • Local school boards can implement stricter screening procedures if they desire
  • No prohibition on playing sports in Phases 4 or 5
  • There are strict mandates related to hygiene, cleaning protocols, spectators (indoor/outdoor), and transportation (cleaning protocols/face coverings)
  • MHSAA will provide guidance
  • Governor will encourage considerations for changing the calendar to play certain sports in winter/spring instead of the fall
Employee Safety Precautions
  • Worker protection protocols under Executive Order 114 applies to schools
75%, Days/Hours, Assessments, 3rd Grade Reading, A-F
  • There is still a lot of unanswered questions regarding what will happen here. Our hope is that we will be able to work with the legislature to get something done when they are in session later in July, but that is not a guarantee. Expect to be operating under EO 65 until we hear more.

Click on the picture above to see the full "MI Safe Schools: Michigan's 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap"