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MI focuses on school safety, News 10’s David Andrews sits down with Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Saying the people of Michigan control their own destiny, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist is confident Michigan schools will be ready to open this fall.

During a Zoom interview with Gilchrist Tuesday, he told News 10′s David Andrews wearing a mask is the easiest way to flatten the COVID-curve and get kids back in the classroom.

“Every school organization and school district is working on putting in place plans, regardless of what phase the state is in, three or four or five. Right now the focus is on how we can control our destiny. When it comes to what happens in the fall is by everyone wearing a mask. If we all wear masks, stay safe when we go out, limit when we leave our homes, we can slow the spread so it will be safer for our education professionals to educate our children in some form,” Gilchrist said.

He said right now the Whitmer administration is watching the COVID case count closely, but at this time, there’s no line in the sand about when a rollback to stricter times might be needed.

“We have seen some districts go to online learning, that’s not a choice we’re in a position to make yet, (we’re) waiting to see how things are trending,” Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist said the focus now is on getting schools the resources they need to reopen safely.

“Lt. Gov, do you have enough resources, PPE to get schools up and running in the fall?”

“This is exactly what I’m talking about, $256 million in state resources. We need a lot more from the feds. Betsy DeVos has not delivered on these resources and they need to do their job,” Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist told News 10 his biggest fear is for the next month and a half.

“Well look, I’ve lost 23 people to COVID-19 and I don’t want to lose more people. I’m also concerned, you know, about the cases as they are trending. If people don’t mask up and put on masks, I’m worried about those trends continuing to go in the wrong direction. And us being in a bad spot when it comes to the choices we need to make for our kids going back to school. That is something that means something real to me. I have a twin son and daughter who are rising second graders and want to make sure any choice we make keeps them safe and the education professionals take care of them on a daily basis. So I’m concerned that if people don’t mask up, we are going to be in even worse shape,” Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist said right now the state is committed to helping individual school districts prepare for whatever type of learning they decide is best for their students this fall.

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