Michigan calls on schools to have masks but no social distancing in class

Michigan schools will look different this fall. Just how different depends on the status of the pandemic. (Bridge file photo)

Michigan schools can reopen if the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t get worse than it is now, according to a 63-page plan released by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday. 

But students and parents should expect an educational experience radically different from pre-pandemic times — one that includes plenty of face masks but, perhaps surprisingly, no mandatory social distancing in classrooms or on buses, leaving that decision largely to local schools. 

The plan, titled MI Safe Schools, provides Michigan’s more than 800 school districts and charter schools a guideline of school safety requirements and recommendations that differ by pandemic phase classification.

There are stringent safety requirements for schools if the state continues to be in the current pandemic safety phase (currently phase 4 in the Lower Peninsula) that would make the coming school year look and feel like no other.

Just how different? Picture kindergartners with face masks and closed cafeterias; football games where fist bumps or shaking hands are banned after touchdowns and bleachers with no more than 100 fans.

If conditions improve, however, as Whitmer indicated she hoped they would by fall, some of those safety requirements become recommendations.

You can read the report here.

“We cannot predict precisely how this virus will change in the weeks or months ahead,” Whitmer said at a press conference Tuesday. “But we are going to do everything we can to increase the likelihood that we start and stay in a phase of this pandemic that allows for in-person instruction. 

“These requirements and recommendations will not always be easy to implement. But they're absolutely necessary. These measures are designed to increase the likelihood of keeping Michigan schools open.”

It’s possible that some protocols may be required in areas facing higher risks of the spread of coronavirus, and the same protocols will be merely recommendations in other parts of the state. For example, the harder-hit Lower Peninsula is considered to be in phase 4 of pandemic response now, while the Upper Peninsula is classified as the less-restrictive phase 5.

Under current conditions in the Lower Peninsula, school safety protocols would include:

  • Face coverings for staff at all times other than during meals.
  • A recommendation that teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade wear clear face shields.
  • All students wear face masks on buses and in school common areas such as hallways and libraries.
  • Facial coverings for students in grades 6-12 in classrooms.
  • Facial coverings for students in grades K-5 if they come in contact with students outside of their classroom during the day.
  • No indoor assemblies that bring together more than a single classroom of students.
  • Weight rooms are closed.
  • No handshakes or fist bumps in athletic events
  • Indoor spectator events are suspended and outdoor events are limited to 100 fans.

Under Whitmer’s plan, safety protocols become less stringent as the state raises its pandemic phase classification. For example, face coverings are “strongly recommended,” but not required, in phase 5.

“We all want our kids to return to school safely in the fall,” Whitmer said at the press event. “My daughter is going to start her senior year of high school this year. And I know firsthand that the last thing any parent wants is to cancel another round of graduations and milestones next spring.”

Whitmer ordered the closure of Michigan’s public and private K-12 school buildings in mid-March to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which through Monday had sickened more than 63,000 Michigan residents and killed almost 6,000.

Schools switched to remote learning for the state’s 1.5 million K-12 students for the remainder of the school year, mostly through online learning and printed packets delivered to homebound students.

In planning for the fall, school districts have struggled to balance the safety of students and staff with the desire to return to classroom education after what will be a six-month hiatus.

Whitmer created a school reopening advisory panel last month, which made recommendations the governor relied on in Tuesday’s report.

State Superintendent Michael Rice praised the plan. 

“This is a thoughtful set of parameters under which we can return safely and realistically to school in the fall,” Rice said in a statement. “If we follow our health protocols, both inside school and out, we have the opportunity to stay in school longer next school year than if we assume that the pandemic has run its course. It hasn’t.”

One safety protocol some superintendents were surprised to see missing: a requirement for social distancing. Students are not required to sit six feet apart from each other in classrooms or on school buses, even though social distancing is required in restaurants and bars.

Many school leaders were developing contingency plans that included an option of bringing just half of students to school buildings at any one time, to allow for social distancing in classrooms.

The absence of a social-distancing requirement will allow schools the option of returning all students to school every day, said Mark Greathead, superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Public Schools in Wayne County, whose district had anticipated the possible need for “rotating schedules.”

Allowing all students to return to school full-time also gives parents of many students the ability to return to jobs. In a recent poll of Michigan parents, 20 percent said that if their children do not return to school in the fall, it would have a “significant impact” on their ability to pay their bills.

Some districts, including West Bloomfield and Detroit, have already announced plans that are a mix of homebound and classroom learning. But for other districts, news that they can return all students to classrooms and fill their school bus seats as they normally do comes as a relief. 

“I still believe we’ll have to provide flexible learning opportunities for some families,” Greathead said, but his district will likely now try to return to an all-student, in-person schedule.

Erik Edoff, superintendent of L’Anse Creuse Public Schools in Macomb County, said districts do not have the time for the logistics involved in creating a hybrid online/in person school model, nor do most schools have the space to have all students back in class and have them sit six feet apart.

“In current school structures, that was an impossibility,” Edoff said. “I think the (advisory panel) understood that.”

While classrooms could be packed, most students would, under the state’s phase 4 pandemic level currently in force in the Lower Peninsula, be required to wear face masks.

Recommending but not requiring social distancing “allows us to have a more normal school,” Edoff said, “but we will still create social distancing where we can.”

Both Edoff and Greathead said the safety protocols required and recommended in Whitmer’s plan are important, but they are also expensive.

Edoff estimated that costs connected to the pandemic could cost his district between $500 and $600 per student in the coming school year, in expenses such as additional cleaning, testing and personal protective equipment.

School leaders, as well as legislators and the governor, are holding out hope that the federal government will approve an additional pandemic stimulus package that provides money for schools.

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Comments

Kevin Grand
Tue, 06/30/2020 - 7:06pm

Didn't the governor's "authority" expire after April 30th?

Why should anyone give this presentation she released any credibility whatsoever?

Mark Smith
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:11pm

Why should anyone give this presentation credibility? Because it's a plan, because it's better than no plan. What's your plan? Or are you only interested in griping about our governor?

Anne B
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 9:49pm

Exactly. She's the Governor and has the authority to make rules that help to get us through this pandemic. At least most state Governors are trying to show some planning and making an effort to stem the COVID issue, unlike the travesty of leadership in the WH. No national leadership whatsoever leaves it up to the states. And, you know that pesky 'states rights' thing...

Anonymous
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:12pm

What authority? She's still governor.

John Chastain
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 2:13pm

While I realize as one of many apologists for all things Trump (including his racism and authoritarianism) and someone who disbelieves that the pandemic is real (just a Democratic conspiracy eh) or that masks are necessary (only fearful snowflakes wear them) your dismissal of the governors "authority" is as predictable as its absurd. Still its somewhat pathetic the lengths that reactionary republicans will go when disparaging or dismissing any attempt to bring a modicum of normal back while addressing the continued threat that the "imaginary" pandemic poses. I know that you neither care about the children that this affects nor the people in their lives that the pandemic is a threat to. Still if you are going to post the constant comments criticizing the state response perhaps you could offer an alternative not founded in denial and deflection. One perhaps grounded in some form of reality recognizable to even the least partisan person reading this nonsense.

Kevin Grand
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 7:51am

Let's go through the checklist, shall we?

Calling people racist? Check!

Calling them authoritarian? Check!

Confronting anyone whose dares to question "settled science"? Check!

The Bridge ignoring its own rules (yet again), by allowing "comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes."

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

You've just satisfied the woke commenter high score of the day. Good job, Mr. Chastain.

Waitaminit? Is that the extra bonus point-double score: "Think about the children"-defense? Check and check! Gosh, how could I have missed that?

So, to the collective above, let me leave you with this reply.

The legislative power of the State of Michigan is vested in a senate and a house of representatives. NOT the governor.That isn't my take on it, it's written right here.

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(d25x2bnndxuuc012od2aveiv))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Article-IV-1

SML Shirkey and Speaker Chatfield may be throwing up their hands and waving the white flag of surrender while they abdicate any responsibility of their respective offices to one Gretchen Esther Whitmer. That certainly DOESN'T mean that Freedom-loving Michiganians are eager to follow suit.

People are tired of accommodating the governor in her relentless fear driven misinformation pandemic in which she, and her acolytes in the media, absolutely love to parrot.

Gyms and fitness centers are re-opening WITHOUT her permission.

More and more Michiganians are refusing to comply with her "orders" to wear masks placing them in an untenable position.

This is just a short list, BTW.

You want my alternative/suggestion to this, well here it is: TREAT people as responsible adults!

There are several state which DID NOT issue lockup orders for their respective populations. When asked why they did not, they cited that little gem above.

I know. I know. Personal responsibility is an anathema to people like you.

And you wonder why there is push-back?

middle of the mit
Fri, 07/03/2020 - 8:40pm

[[[[You want my alternative/suggestion to this, well here it is: TREAT people as responsible adults!

There are several state which DID NOT issue lockup orders for their respective populations. When asked why they did not, they cited that little gem above.

I know. I know. Personal responsibility is an anathema to people like you.

And you wonder why there is push-back?]]]

Personal responsibility again? Conservatives won't even wear the one thing that could help stem the virus and you are telling us they are going to be personally responsible? LOL!

Have you checked what those States are doing now? Mandating masks and closing bars because apparently people aren't personally responsible.

Matt
Sat, 07/04/2020 - 7:53am

Setting aside the usual sanctimony, how does one whine that the President isn't issuing enough orders on one hand and then accuse him of authoritarianism on the other?

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:18am

No whining, just facts. For example, Trump takes no responsibility as a leader and leaves the hard covid work to the governors, while undermining their efforts and the scientists in his own administration. On the other hand, as any ruthless authoritarian he gases peaceful protesters for a photo op. Do you not see he does both? Most people posting here do not think your comment is worth a response, but sadly in truth, we cannot let such nonsensical GOP talking-points go unaddressed. Otherwise you believe you posted something that makes sense and others might think you are right.

Vicki
Sun, 07/05/2020 - 10:54am

Well said Kevin Grand. No one could have said it better!!!

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:09am

Mr. Grand,
Someone asked you for your plan. Treat people with respect is not a plan. Personal responsibility is not a plan either. So you didn't answer. What exactly is your plan?

Math Sux
Fri, 07/03/2020 - 8:57pm

It is so easy to through those terms at President Trump yet who extended Federal help to Chicago shortly after his election?

St Barry? Nope...President Trump. Why? Because he was sickened, as any rational person should be, at the violence on the South Side. Unfortunatley, Mayor Emmaneul (remeber him?) turned down the help and Chicago is still teetering on the edge.

You know who will decide the election? Suburban females who are not comfortable with trimming of police budgets. You can insert your own reasons for this. Relatively safe middle class, and generally liberal, females are worried about their safety because they have little multi cultural or racial experience beyond the few people of different background they met in college. Closet racism is real; but it is not from supporters of meaningful change or a civil society based on law and order. The danger is from people who "feel" and do not use logic and facts to form an opinion.

Ted Czarnecki
Tue, 06/30/2020 - 7:52pm

FYI - parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula are NOT in Phase 4. The Lansing Area is currently in Phase 2, and the Grand Rapids Area is currently in Phase 3. Parts of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are in Phase 5. https://www.mistartmap.info/

LOL
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:20am

Anyone know what phase Florida is in?

Wondering
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:45am

Is there a "Denial" phase? Why do most of all the other countries have this more under control? They say, "The fish stinks from the head." I'd have to agree and put the blame squarely on the head of Trump. He is in way over his head and Putin must have some Kompromat on him. It's must be in his secret tax returns.

WestSide
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 8:30am

An absence of state distancing guidelines? Should we pretend that Detroit students will be as well protected from Covid19 at school as students in West Bloomfield? Does any parent, or teacher, feel that it is SAFE for kids to sit side by side in a bus or in a classroom right now? And local school districts, not the state, make this call? In a state with substantial per pupil spending gaps favoring resource rich communities.Looks like MI SAFE SCHOOLS is setting up students and families with a separate, unequal and unsafe return to school.

Linaka
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 9:57am

You hit the nail on the head. Sacrifice the lower funded, less resourced schools. Can't count on fed funding either. This plan is treating school like it's daycare. I bet we're going to see a lot of teachers quit or retire because of this. My kid isn't going back to in person school (at-risk dad at home).

Cheryl M
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:20pm

Same here, not likely I will sent my kids back to school. If many other parents feel the same way, there won't be funding for buses, cafeterias, support staff, heating, electrical, etc. Schools can't function without a high level of student attendance. Never thought I'd say this, but I guess we'll have to consider homeschooling with online courses. This is serious, we will not buy the hype that children don't get sick, let alone exposures to extended family from the children being possible asymptomatic carriers. We parents cannot afford to get sick from our children. Who will take care of them if we do, the schools? Right, this is not gloried daycare; it's our lives.

Oh Michigan!
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:14pm

"Does any parent, or teacher, feel that it is SAFE for kids to sit side by side in a bus or in a classroom right now?" NO, let alone by fall. It's a nationwide joke, not just Michigan.

MI gets haircut
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:24am

West, the governor has to put this in the hands of the local districts until there is a tragedy because that's what the MI GOP wants and she is losing in court for issuing safety orders. The MI Supreme Court unanimously sided with recklessly rogue barber.

Donald
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 8:41am

social distancing in class would reduce class size, the republicans can not have that they want at least 60 kids in a class room!!!!

Cindy
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:13pm

What an ignorant, unfounded comment.

LH
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 2:10am

In our district (in a rural, politically conservative area), we have invested in our staff and buildings to keep class size as low as possible, especially in grades K-3. We do not have enough classrooms to accommodate additional classes if we were required to reduce class size even more to accommodate social distancing, nor do we have enough funding to hire additional staff when we are being told to expect budget cuts that could be as high as 25%. As a practical matter, I cannot imagine trying to explain and enforce social distancing in an early elementary classroom no matter how small the class. I don't care if there are only 10 kindergartners in a room, they aren't going to stay six feet apart all day.

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:31am

LH, that's why the prudent thing is to continue online work.

EB
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 9:27am

I'm so thankful That Woman from Michigan is our governor.

CK
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 9:27am

Is there a collective group that determines what Phase we are in? Hopefully, it is not ONE person determining Phase 4 vs 5. That can swing our rights and our kids educational experience big time.

Easy Inexpensive
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:41am

Math, Goldman Sachs is right, for the economy and for education. Everyone just wear a mask! It's basic science, not rocket science.

Slippery Slope
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:32am

That sounds like communism.

Margaret Ellen ...
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:30am

As a retired elementary teacher, I believe Witmer's basic guidelines are are a good start. Every school district will know their community much better and much quicker than the state . The local school district can make stricter guidelines as needed. One district may have to close and they will do so with the help of the state or county as needed.
I don't believe this is a political or by-partisan issue. I am not affiliated with either party but accusing and arguing with decisions because of your political beliefs is not helpful There is not going to be a lot of money to toss around. If you have an idea talk to people who run your district. Go to your local school board meetings (probably on-line ) Every public school district has an elected board that receives health information from their county health department. These are all intelligent, informed people that care about student welfare. If they don't, you should vote in the best you can find. Did you vote for your school board members? Do you know who they are?
The inner city schools do have less money because the better neighborhoods vote to raise their taxes for the extras. Unfair? Of coarse. A lot of rural schools have less also because they have fewer taxpayers. A good education is not just nice buildings, lots of textbooks, and better paid teachers. A good education cannot be given to you. You must desire it and go after it. There are many reasons a student is less than successful in school. It takes a whole community working together to educate a child. It takes all of us working together to beat this virus. Wearing a mask does make a healthier environment for all. Adults set the example! Then our children will be safe.

LH
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 2:01am

Great comment for the most part. I was pleasantly surprised by the task force recommendations so far. A couple of points of clarification, though: Since Proposal A passed in 1994, school funding is based primarily on student count, not the number of taxpayers in a district or local property tax rates. Schools are no longer funded by property taxes, other than bonds or a sinking fund millage. It is true that wealthier districts are more likely to pass bond issues or sinking fund millages, but these funding sources can only be used for certain limited purposes. Also, when all funding sources are taken into consideration, inner city districts receive more money per student than the average district. The same is true of the smallest rural districts, which receive a higher foundation allowance to compensate for having a student count that is too low to fund the district if they were to receive the standard foundation allowance.

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:34am

Margaret, you forgot to mention the importance of contact tracing.

Told you so
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:10pm

All a charade, classes will not be held in-person in the fall. You heard it here first. Love to say I told you so.

Roxanne Victor
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:16pm

Face shields alone would be better for children and teachers. As protective (many studies confirm) but allow for comfort, less adjusting/touching needed, facial expressions seen, easier breathing, better hearing of speech, easily cleaned with wipes.

Return to Homes...
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 1:49pm

We've homeschooled for most of our child's education and this new mask mandate will have us returning to homeschooling this fall. Based on the volume of requests I'm getting to educate other parents in the district about Michigan homeschooling laws, how to homeschool a highschooler, etc. I would say a large % of people will move to homeschooling at least until the mask rule is lifted, and that will substantially reduce funding for schools.

Correction
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:48am

I think you mean until the mask rule is enforced. That's why the governor has to make this a local decision. Some districts don't understand science and math so well.

hallinen
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 2:50pm

I would suggest that staff check with your school's HVAC system. MERV 14 filters are what you need, with an air exchange of 12/hour. If your school isn't doing that, you can get a room size HEPA unit. Those can be expensive. A cheap alternative would be a $20 box fan from Lowes with a MERV 14 filter taped to the suction side. The number of HEPA/box fans that you need depends on the volume of the room, and probably on the number of students. If kids are wearing shields instead of mask, I'd for sure want a few. Cracking a window or preferably two will help. The state's document just says to make sure the schools HVAC is working. I hope more detailed guidance will be coming soon.

Also, close the damn bars Whitmer!!! This is a no brainer. Kellyanne Conway is actually right, schools are more important than bars. That 105 that we know of from East Lansing is what we know of, what don't we know?

LMAO
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:09am

Hallinen,
Let me guess, you're in the MERV 14 filters business?

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:11am

Filters do no good when kids are coughing, screaming, singing, etc.

Jennifer G
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 8:30pm

This plan involved input from school administrators, MEA rep, healthcare, government, a student, etc who were on the committee to look at how to reopen safely. There is no way to protect every staff member or student - even before covid there was no way to do that. There is always the threat of school shootings, athletes getting concussions, students killed or injured at bus stops, food allergies that are life threatening. There is no perfect plan in any state or district so decisions were made based on science, mental and physical health, educational needs and what sounds like a little common sense and very little political overtones. Let's start at the beginning of the day. Social distancing on a bus would have taken the capacity of a single bus from 88 down to 15-17. Not practical. So if social distancing was mandated for the school day parents would need to get their kids to and from school each day. Not going to happen so everything beyond that is a mute point now- school closed. And if social distancing isn't going to happen on a bus there is no way to say it has to happen in the classroom or the committee would look like idiots.

I'm sure the plan doesn't make everyone happy; those parents have every right to home school, use virtual learning or present a plan of their own. My guess those are probably the same parents dragging little Johnny to the store, the beach, grandma's house, or McDonald's all summer long too.

MH
Sun, 07/05/2020 - 12:23pm

Please don’t assume those parents are probably the same parents dragging little Johnny to the store..... Be aware of this parent: Five children, from elementary to high school, resulting in kids attending three different schools. Haven’t went to any public settings, stores, take outs, etc. since school was closed. One child has a very rare undiagnosed illness. Can’t afford for the kids to bring back this illness to the one child. Just remember this is one case. There are families struggling out there with similar situations. This is not easy.

Even worse
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:58am

All sadly true, but imagine an even worse case scenario the GOP won't discus much. What happens if you get sick because one of your children bring home the virus? Who takes care of your children if you and your spouse are on ventilators? Nick Cordero died at 41 hoping to survive as a double amputee, leaving a wife and small child. People need to take this seriously. It's not a political game. We don't need more children put in the foster care system because of dumb political decisions.

TB
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 6:50am

This is a misleading headline.

Daniel Vandenberg
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 10:14am

We are going to just continue to homeschool. I think my son did better with us teaching him then he would have if he was in school unfortunately he's missing the socialization. But if I do that I'm also going to quit paying the school millage on my property taxes. I use that extra money to take him places where he can play with other kids. Our governor needs to resign.

Anne B
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 9:54pm

Well that's great if you want to homeschool, but many people don't have that option due to work, time restrictions, single parent families, etc. And if you want the Gov. to resign, you go ahead and run an expensive, time consuming, tiring campaign, and if you get elected, you can make the rules. Until then, quit your complaining and making it all about you - we're all in it together, and when there is no national leadership whatsoever, it's up to the Governors. That's their job and they are trying as best they can with a defunct federal government.

Faith
Sun, 07/05/2020 - 11:10am

I would love to see you stop paying the school millage on your taxes. See how long it takes the county to put a lien and foreclose on your house. It’s not an optional tax. Everyone pays it including people with no kids .

Mary
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 5:38pm

I know how urgent it is that parents and school districts to have students back, but this is a recipe for disaster if COVID does not decline far more than it has. Any child can be exposed by their families (some of whom have not worn masks or obeyed start at home orders all along), come to school 2 days before they show symptoms, expose a whole class all of whom will then have to quarantine for 14 days including teachers, staff, and parents. This isn't a plan to open safely, but a fig leaf to allow parents and districts to get what they need despite the risks to their children.

Max G
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:16am

I agree and instead the cases are going up everywhere. So there is no way to get children back to school in the fall. It's clearly a bad idea for everyone. The governor is wise because she's doing what the GOP wants knowing her stay at home order will be taken seriously when there is a huge surge in the fall. Plan for the children to be at home. This is all kabuki theatre.

Anonymous
Thu, 07/02/2020 - 7:34pm

And now, the hard part. Actually getting students to follow these instructions. Looks like a wish list to me. Middle schools can't get students to follow a dress code, or not wear hoods in the halls. Good luck with those masks. Teachers will need to spend several hours a day policing mask use.

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:19am

You didn't even mention dealing with all the virus covered cellphones.

A Yooper
Sat, 07/04/2020 - 1:54pm

We have very high paid Superintendents who presumably have the knowledge, skills and abilities to be able to figure this out. Also, school boards with presumably the knowledge, skills and abilities to assist with these issues. So let’s be big boys and girls now, put your collective heads together and get create. The way people are behaving this pandemic will be with us for years. Get it in gear people!!!

Anonymous
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:22am

They say the Spanish Flu in 1918 lasted three years.... Seems like other countries have learned more than we have.

Margaret Morgan
Sun, 07/05/2020 - 8:39am

I trust Governor Whitmer and her educational plan. She looks at the data and plans accordingly for our health and safety. The Coronavirus is so new and unknown, our state must look at data and adjust when needed to save lives.

yippikiyea
Mon, 07/06/2020 - 10:34am

I have stood behind our governments standings for Michigan and social distancing, until now. It is apparent our governor has caved to pressure for opening the schools in such a lax way. She does not seem to care that the students will spread the coronavirus freely and take it home infecting all family members, young and old. To not distance in schools and especially on school busses is signing us all to a death warrant.

Epidemiology
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:31am

I understand and everything you say is true, but August/September are far away in Covid 19 terms. Whitmer will shut the schools at that time. Right now she needs political cover for such a big controversial decision, unsupported by the irresponsible Republicans who are screaming for "liberation" and "civil war". Come fall, those rebels will be begging her to close all the schools. Besides, if you don't support this governor, who can you support? She is the only one trying to address these problems. Are any schools anywhere in the country saying they will stay closed in the fall? I don't think so, but you can be assured that the vast majority everywhere will be closed, or opened/closed quickly. It's politics.

Mike
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 7:28am

I'm not a Whitmer fan, but this looks like this is a feasible, well thought out plan by her administration. Many schools do not have the ability to spread out students because of room size, but those who can likely will. Online instruction is just not effective in many homes in southeastern Michigan, so in person classes are critical and I think the Whitmer administration recognizes that.

Dave
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 8:02am

I just want to point out, of the 330,000,000 people in the US only 176 under 25 have died of Covid19. Of those 176 almost all of them had pre-existing conditions or were high risk. There are risks in returning to school, but in a nation where 1.9 million young people are treated in hospitals for accidents each year & 12,000 young people die from them we need to have some perspective. For those who have lost children, the loss in beyond words, but statistacally the numbers are very very small.

Still?
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 11:34am

I just want to point out that most young people have been isolated during this outbreak. Sending them to school, even if they don't die, will bring the virus home to there parents, extended families, and frail siblings. Think!

Olive
Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:04am

Headline is quite misleading; K-5 students are not required to wear masks in self-contained classrooms.