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‘We have to move forward,’ Missouri Gov. wants schools open

The new school year is fast approaching, and schools are trying to figure out the best options during the ongoing pandemic. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and K-12 Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven met this week with leaders in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways to help protect students, workers and their families from COVID-19.

This page was last updated on Monday, July 13, 2020 at 05:51 AM EDT.

The governor said safely reopening Missouri schools is necessary to continue providing resources to at-risk students. The debate over schools continues as testing across the country has reached a record number which is resulting in more cases but also more person-to-person spread of the virus. At the same time, death rates from the coronavirus has fallen to record levels as it spreads within younger people who are less likely to suffer serious consequences.

“I sit there and I think of all the kids that need to be in school,” Parson said. “There’s the ones that have the privilege of going every day. That’s almost common that we go to school for most of the school kids, but a lot of school kids it’s a safety blanket. It’s a way to get nutrition. It’s a way to get counseling. It’s a way for somebody to help them when they cry out for help.

“This virus cannot shut our country down and our states down. We have to deal with it as we would anything else that we have dealt with in this country. We have to move forward, and the economy and life goes on. Education is part of who we are, and kids need to get back in school. Parents need to get more involved in their schools and be back involved in their schools, as I heard speakers today speak. It’s part of who we are. It’s how we build a future, and I think that’s so important.”

President Trump has said that for the mental health of children, and to allow parents to remain at work, schools need to open. On Twitter, he pointed to numerous countries have reopened schools with no problems. “He can put a little pressure on you if he decides to do that – I will say that,” Parson said “So sometimes we all need a little push to get things going.”

While not being reported widely in the media or by many teacher unions, the president has also stated that the health and safety of teachers must be a priority and encouraged states to devise with plans that would  not put additional burdens on the nation’s education professionals.

Those plans could be similar to Europe. Most coronavirus hotspots across Europe and Asia will be open this fall.

Most of Missouri’s K through 12 education is funded at the state and local levels.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice