Michigan schools will be allowed to reopen and hold in-person classes in the fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday.
Schools will be required to follow strict safety measures. Whitmer said she plans to release an executive order and a “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” on June 30 that will contain the requirements and recommendations for schools. It is currently unclear what those requirements may be.
“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, those who have done their part to flatten the curve, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall.”
Whitmer originally closed schools on March 16. She closed them for the rest of the school year on April 2, just days before they were originally set to reopen.
The governor’s office said the Roadmap will provide the minimum health and safety requirements, but districts are welcome to enact more aggressive measures. The requirements will apply to all schools, including traditional public, charter, private and parochial schools.
“The most important thing we can do when developing a return to school plan is closely examine the data and remain vigilant in our steps to fight this virus,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun in a statement. “…This is a big step, and we will remain flexible to protect everyone who steps foot in a Michigan school.”
The Return to School plan will match the MI Safe Start Plan closely, the governor’s office said, adding that educators must be prepared to move backward if the number of confirmed coronavirus cases begins to rise again.
“Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families,” Whitmer said. “I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and leaders in health care to ensure we get this right…”
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