What will it take for Michigan schools to go back to in-person learning?

Gov. Whitmer, MDHHS address what is needed

More and more school districts are opting out of in person classes across Michigan while others are looking for guidance from Lansing before making decisions.

LANSING, Mich. – More and more school districts are opting out of in person classes across Michigan while others are looking for guidance from Lansing before making decisions.

READ: Here’s what Michigan school districts have planned for the fall amid the pandemic

In a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed what it’s going to take to have in person instruction this fall. As she has for weeks now, Whitmer is hedging before making any sweeping declarations about school, leaving the decisions to local districts, but she did open up about the metrics she is using to make that decision.

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“We’ve going to have to be nimble and it’s frustrating and it’s hard to hear that, but that is nature of this virus and that’s why it’s critical that we are masking up,” Whitmer said.

Michigan’s recent uptick in COVID-19 cases continues to threaten the fall school semester. Whitmer said the counties that have opened school have done so while cases have declined and that Michigan isn’t there yet.

“We are at a plateau,” Whitmer said. “Essentially, countries that have been successful have less than 10 (cases) per million (people) per day. We are well above that all across the state of Michigan right now, and that’s why it’s really important that we tighten up where we can.

If that is the governor’s bar, there is more than just tightening up that needs to happen. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the cases per million per day look like this:

  • Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo are above 40, but are seeing those numbers coming down steadily.
  • Jackson and the U.P. are at 35, and also seeing recent steady decreases.
  • Saginaw and Lansing are listed below 30, but Lansing has seen an uptick over the past several weeks while Saginaw cases are dropping.
  • Traverse city is listed below the governor’s benchmark of 10.

“The fact that we’ve staved off what we saw to be very concerning increases, that’s positive, but now is no time to spike the football,” Whitmer said. “This is still concerning in terms of the number of positive cases that we’ve seen.”

There are a number of other metrics the state is using. The health department wants to see the percentage positive per day below three.


About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.