(WSYM) — Ninety-seven percent of Michigan schools will have an in-person learning option by March 1, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said during a press conference Wednesday.
Currently, 83% of schools are offering an in-person learning option.
During the press conference, Whitmer explained why having in-person learning is so crucial; she said the state has taken a data-driven approach.
She said schools are cornerstones of healthy, vibrant communities.
"A school environment provides social and emotional skills foundational to a child's development," she said. "For young children especially, face-to-face learning is critical."
Additionally, Whitmer said the transition to remote learning has exacerbated equity gaps statewide.
"With proper precautions, resources and guidelines, we can mitigate the risk and minimize community spread and return to in-person learning."
For in-person learning, the governor said schools must follow three pillars of public health: Wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.
She also recommended that there should be at least one staff member who is the point person for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Additionally, she said schools should follow a cohort model and maintain airflow, which is "critical" to keeping the virus at bay.
She also called on the Legislature to pass her economic recovery plan, which would allocate $1.7 billion in resources to Michigan schools.