Gov: Masks Yes, But Distancing Won’t Be Required In Schools Next Fall

Jun 30, 2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said face masks will be required when K-through 12 students return to school in the fall. She said enforcing six-foot distancing could be impractical, but it is still recommended.

Those were a couple of details the governor unveiled Tuesday as she outlined plans to resume in-person classroom instruction and extra-curricular activities. 

But she said those plans rely on COVID-19 infection numbers remaining low enough so school can safely resume. 

“We have to stay vigilant. Wearing a mask today increases the odds we can resume in-person instruction in the fall. So please keep doing your part,” Whitmer said.

Paula Herbart is the president of the MEA, a union that represents teachers and other school employees. She is also part of the group that developed back-to-school plans that were unveiled.

Herbart said schools and staff will need to adjust to unexpected circumstances. 

“While today’s minimum steps provide a road map back to in-person learning, things are not ‘returning to normal.’ It will not be perfect. There will be curves in the road ahead.” 

A budget deal reached this week between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature’s Republican leaders allocates $256 million in assistance from the federal government to help schools upgrade classrooms and other facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  

The governor said she’s also asking the Michigan High School Athletic Association to flip some sports seasons.

She said close-contact sports such as football should be played in the spring. And she said sports such as golf and tennis can be moved to the fall.