LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was unreceptive to Republican-passed legislation that would require public schools to offer in-person instruction to students in kindergarten through fifth grade amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic governor’s comments came after several districts recently announced they will start the academic year solely with distance learning regardless of whether Whitmer moves the rest of Michigan into phase five of her reopening plan. Under phase four, in-person classes are permitted. Schools are supposed to open for in-person instruction under phase five with fewer required safety protocols.
The governor said parts of the House-approved plan now pending in the Senate have “merit,” but “other pieces are modeled after the DeVos plan to force schools to put kids back in the classroom. We’re going to be focused on the science.”
She used a COVID-19 news conference to criticize the Republican-led U.S. Senate for providing no new funding for states and cities in the next round of relief aid. Michigan is facing a multibillion-dollar hole in the budget year that starts in October.
Whitmer also called for a national mask-wearing mandate.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, reported that the number of new daily virus cases plateaued over the previous two weeks.