Pediatricians Say Send Michigan Kids Back to School – Will Whitmer Listen?

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Michigan pediatricians and members of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MIAAP) just delivered groundbreaking news and encouragement to Governor Whitmer and lawmakers, that they safely get students back into the classroom for in-person learning this fall.

This is great news, if Whitmer and policymakers are willing to take the experts’ advice. MIAAP has published their recommendations, citing science and data that indicate children are at lower risk of contracting COVID-19 and are less likely to spread the virus to others. According to the Pediatricians, young people without underlying health conditions also rarely become seriously ill from COVID-19.

“Despite the disproportionately small effect of COVID-19 on children, the public health response has had a disproportionately large effect on children’s lives,” MIAAP’s statement read. “School closures have put the mental and social health of children at risk, in addition to affecting their educational trajectories.”

According to the Michigan pediatricians, a return to school is most essential for younger, special needs, and at-risk students, who are most vulnerable to being left behind, but is important for students across the board.

The Pediatricians also encourage Governor Whitmer to avoid one-size-fits-all restrictions on social distancing rules for schools and classrooms, because of their limiting effect on in-classroom learning, the low risk of infection among students, and the low risk of transmission.

We agree with Michigan pediatricians who believe kids deserve open school doors and in-person learning this fall. The science and the data – and the Michigan physicians responsible for our kids’ health and wellbeing – say getting kids back to school is the right thing to do.

GLEP is strongly encouraging Governor Whitmer to listen to Michigan pediatricians, avoid additional restrictions that limit in-person learning, and get our students back to school.

Beth DeShone
Executive Director, Great Lakes Education Project


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“Delivering for Michigan students in ways that matter this fall will take leadership and a few bold ideas this summer. We’re happy to offer some to get the conversation started.”
Kids deserve healthy schools and open doors this fall, and leaders in Lansing willing to do the tough work to deliver for them. The legislature recently took the first important steps to get our kids and our teachers back in the classroom safely. Now the state’s leading pediatricians, the doctors responsible for keeping our students healthy- are urging the Governor to send kids back to the classroom.

Without in-classroom learning, the doctors say the mental health and education of our kids will continue to suffer. The experts say students are at much lower risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19.
Families can only hope that Governor Whitmer eventually follows physicians’ lead.

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