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Whitmer Calls On Congress For More COVID Aid

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she’s aware parents, students, and teachers are anxious for details on back-to-school plans.  But, as we hear from Rick Pluta, she says there’s still too much uncertainty about how the spread of COVID-19 might affect those plans.

GovernorGretchen Whitmersays she’s aware there’s a growing urgency to making back-to-school plans.  But she says it’s still too early to make final decisions on a return to in-school learning.  Whitmer said those decisions will depend on the rates of COVID-19 deaths and infections in different parts of the state.

“Our actions today are going to yield what the numbers are on those days when the kids are supposed to get back in school,” Whitmer said at a press briefing.  “So, while I can’t tell you what it’s going to look like, I can tell you every day between now and then, we’re watching the numbers very closely.”

The governor re-iterated the importance of wearing face masks and social distancing to help avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Whitmer also called for more COVID-19 assistance from Washington, but said she’s opposed to linking federal K-12 funding to a return to in-school learning. 

“We’ve got 800 districts in the state of Michigan in various regions that have different experiences with COVID-19,” she said.

But Whitmer said federal funding via a third COVID-19 relief bill is necessary for Michigan and other states to avoid deficits, big budget cuts, and painful economic consequences.

Budget Director Chris Kolbsays the economic impact of COVID-19 on state revenue is still adding up, but will be in the billions of dollars.

“The budget cuts in the coming year will be severe,” he said, “as cuts to education, public safety, and health care services at both the state and the local level would be unavoidable given the current revenue dollars.” 

Kolb has also asked the Legislature’s budget leaders to convene a conference used to reach a consensus on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Michigan’s economy and tax revenue.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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