The State Board of Education’s Tuesday meeting is being postponed until November due to a lack of clarity about whether public bodies can continue to hold virtual meetings, the Michigan Department of Education said. 

The confusion comes after a Michigan Supreme Court decision last week that determined Governor Gretchen Whitmer did not have the authority to continue declaring states of emergency and nullified her executive orders. Among those orders was allowing public bodies to meet virtually.

Whitmer has asked the court to clarify whether its ruling took effect immediately, or if there is a grace period until the end of the month.

The Supreme Court has yet to respond.

“Since there is currently a lack of clarity about whether virtual meetings are still allowed at this time, the October meeting of the state board is being postponed until November,” Dr. Casandra Ulbrich, State Board of Education President, said in a statement. 

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice noted that, to protect public health and safety, an emergency epidemic order was issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and puts limits on the number of people in indoor gatherings. These limits call into question the ability to hold a public meeting in the board room in Lansing.

If the state Supreme Court timely clarifies that its decision did not take immediate effect or the state legislature quickly passes a law that clarifies under which conditions a public meeting may be held, a state board meeting may still be held in October, the agency said. 

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