Superintendent: Schools can reopen if COVID cases stay flat

The state's top school official is advocating for school reopening as long as new infections don't start rising again.

Michigan’s education chief has given his endorsement to a call by the governor to resume in-person classes by March. State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice told MLive on Tuesday that as long as new infections remain flat, K-12 schools should be able to reopen.

What Happened: Rice hadn’t weighed in on the governor’s call to restart in-person classes before Tuesday. He told MLive he’s encouraged by the progress Michigan has made in reducing transmission of the coronavirus thanks to efforts such as mask wearing and social distancing.

“If we do all of these things and keep the new case surge largely flat, all districts will be able to open by this winter,” he said.

He is also concerned about the toll the pandemic has taken on children’s education. Many districts have held classes online, which has led to a decline in educational achievement.

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“Due to the pandemic … most students will have received less instruction from March of last year [until now] than any other period of their education,” he said, adding that some districts may opt to add school days to the end of the year in order to address deficiencies.

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