Whitmer: If COVID-19 cases continue to go up, it won't be safe for kids to go to school

Empty classroom covid-19
Posted at 7:05 AM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 08:42:10-04

(WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the things people in the state are doing now will determine whether or not kids go back to school in the fall.

Speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night, Whitmer said she wants kids to go back to school in just 55 days, but if the trajectory of COVID-19 cases continues to go up once again, it likely won't be safe.

"If we continue this trajectory, we’re going to be hard-pressed to give parents confidence, teachers confidence, and that our kids and everyone is safe to resume," she said.

It came on the same day that Whitmer extended the state of emergency until Aug. 11.

Under the state's Return to Learn plan, students would be able to attend school face-to-face under phase 4, which all of the state is under right now. The Traverse City area and the Upper Peninsula are in phase 5.

If we move backwards into phase 3, classes would have to be virtual.

"When I took kids out of school in March, it weighed heavily on me," Whitmer said. "That's 1.5 million kids in Michigan, half of whom get a meal or two five days a week."

She also said she was concerned about the learning gap and learning loss, which has been "exacerbated, especially for kids in poverty."

Whitmer said it's critical right now that people mask up and take the politics out of this to save lives, get kids back in school and get the economy re-engaged.

"If the numbers keep going up, we gotta follow the signs, we gotta protect lives, that’s gotta center on what we do," she said.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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