Skubick: Gov. Whitmer rolls out plan for millions of free masks

Michigan

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The state is distributing 4 million free masks to low-income schools and other organizations.

And the latest COVID-19 numbers will play into what local schools will be doing about opening classrooms this fall.  

It’s a good news – bad news story on the impact of the virus in our state.

Compared to other states, the governor is upbeat about Michigan.

“Our state currently ranks 40th in the seven day average of new cases,” explained Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during Friday’s news briefing.

Here is the COVID-19 data for local counties from the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

“Jackson has a 30 case per day figure with a 2% positivity rate while Lansing and Traverse City have 20 per day and a positivity rate under 2%,” Dr. Khaldun said.

Against that backdrop local school officials this weekend must finalize their plans on whether to fill empty classrooms or keep the kids home for computer learning.

The governor will not make those decisions but thinks, with the right protocols, in-class learning can be safe.

“We know that if we observe the distancing and the masking we have, we can do this safely.”

But not all teachers agree and the Michigan Education Association is complaining some local school boards have not consulted with teachers on how to safely reopen schools. And a strike has not been ruled out.

The governor is telling school boards to bargain with teachers.

“They are supposed to be working with the teachers,” said the governor.  

The governor will also work this weekend with lawmakers to address more school safety measures.

>>>Anyone interested in receiving a free mask can find a distribution location by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 or looking up their local Community Action Agency online.

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