Heard on All Things Considered

Gov. Whitmer Says Schools Will Re-Open, Encourages Mask-Wearing As Infection Rate Drops

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Image credit: Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Michigan is leading the nation in declining COVID-19 infection rates. Gov. Whitmer says schools will have protocols to re-open but need additional financial assistance.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is praising the work of residents and health officials after the state’s COVID-19 infection rate has dropped to one of the lowest in the country. 

There have been a dramatic rise in coronavirus cases in states that ended their stay-at-home orders earlier than Michigan. At a news conference this morning, Whitmer said that is concerning.

Mask wearing can’t be partisan, can’t be political. It is a practical way to make sure that we continue to lead this nation.” — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

We are seeing spikes across the country,” Whitmer said. “In Texas, Arizona, and more. But, because the vast majority of Michiganders are doing the right thing by staying home and staying safe and staying informed, we’re not yet seeing another spike here. And that is good for everyone and for our economy.” 

Whitmer urges everyone who goes out in public to wear a mask, saying wearing a mask while in public is one of the easiest ways to stop the spread of the disease.

Mask wearing can’t be partisan, can’t be political. It is a practical way to make sure that we continue to lead this nation,” Whitmer said. ”A new study has shown that if 80 percent of Americans wear masks COVID-19 infections would plummet.”

School Guidelines Coming

Schools will be allowed to reopen under Phase 4 of Michigan’s Safe Start plan, according to a release. Whitmer said a road map to resume in-person instruction will be provided on June 30th.

The plan is expected to take a county-by-county approach instead of a regional one. She acknowledged that the coronavirus-related budget shortfall will present challenges.

We recognize that protocols will cost money,” Whitmer said. ”And that’s why preserving every dollar possible for K-12 is my number one priority. Nothing is more important than the safety of our kids and school staff. And we know that nothing can replace the value of face-to-face instruction.” 

Whitmer called on the federal government to provide more operating funds for states and to provide money for schools. The Senate Fiscal Agency is predicting a $1.4 billion dollar deficit in the state’s general fund and a $1.2 billion shortfall in the school aid fund. 

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Russ McNamara, Host, All Things Considered

Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. While working as an audio engineer for ABC Sports, he was sprayed with champagne as the Detroit Pistons celebrated their championship in 2004.

russmcnamara@wdet.org

This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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