By Jennifer Gomori, MAFF Editor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan schools may resume in-person education as part of Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan, with health and safety measures in place.

Whitmer said she is “optimistic” schools will return to in-person learning in the fall. Whitmer plans to release an Executive Order and Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap June 30 based on recommendations from the Return to Learn Advisory Council and health care leaders. She said she will use the MI Safe Start Plan and Michigan’s eight MERC regions to decide where in-person instruction can resume and how that instruction will be implemented.

The governor stressed the need for federal financial assistance for schools, as they will have increased costs due to new protocols.

She also extended the State of Emergency, which was set to expire June 19, until July 16. The State of Emergency gives Whitmer the authority to issue COVID-19 related Executive Orders. She said all states are currently operating under some form of State of Emergency.

Whitmer said she still hopes to move the rest of the state to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan by July 4. She urged residents and businesses to continue to do their part to reduce the spread of coronavirus by wearing masks and keeping a 6-foot social distance between individuals not residing in the same household.