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Gov. Whitmer signs bill allocating $1.2 billion for COVID testing in schools, healthcare professionals

Posted at 9:33 AM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 09:33:42-05

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed off on $1.2 billion in supplemental funding on Wednesday to help kids continue in-person learning. The money will go towards in-school COVID testing, speeding up testing results and recruiting more healthcare professionals.

“These resources are a great step toward helping to protect our kids and our school employees so that our kids can get the education they need in school and getting it safely," said Thomas Morgan, a communications consultant with the Michigan Education Association.

The $1.2 billion in federal COVID-19 dollars includes $300 million for healthcare recruitment, retention and training. Another $151 million will go towards testing and screening in schools.

“There's no question that in-person instruction is superior in every way to virtual instructions or instruction kids get. There's no question that virtual learning is not as effective as in-person learning," Morgan said. "Getting that one on one time with your educator, with your teacher, having the social, peer interaction is all critical for a child's development.”

Another $367 million will go towards lab capacity grants which will help speed up the processing of tests. Morgan says the MEA is pleased to support any effort to keep kids learning in classrooms.

“Anything we can do to help kids safely remain in school," he said. "We definitely support."

The additional money comes as many schools across the state are ending their mask mandates.

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