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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes, all youth sports and indoor restaurant dining on Friday but instead, asked for voluntary compliance.
She said high schools should shift to virtual learning, both school and non-school youth sports should be paused, people should choose outdoor dining or takeout instead of indoor seating, and they should avoid gathering with friends indoors, the article states.
“The most important thing we all want for our children is to have in-person learning and not have school closures,” she said in March, the AP reports.
Michigan’s state health department recently issued guidance strongly encouraging high schools to remain open for face-to-face instruction so individuals could enroll in the state’s rapid coronavirus testing program — which was recently mandated for teen athletes — the article states.
“Because we are seeing so many cases a day, our public health system is overwhelmed,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, per NBC News. “We are not able to get information on many cases, nor are we able to identify their close contacts.”
NBC reports COVID-19 has been linked to nearly 17,500 deaths in Michigan, including 26 added Friday. More than 577,000 people had recovered as of last week.
The article states that Republican lawmakers, who have fought restrictions, said they were encouraged that she did not tighten guidelines but rather made recommendations.
House Speaker Jason Wentworth said that despite the surge, Whitmer should remove remaining restrictions and “trust the people of this state to do the right thing for themselves and their families.”
Whitmer explained the situation as less of a policy problem and more of a compliance and variant issue the state is facing — NBC News reports that future restrictions haven’t been ruled out.
“We have to do this together. Lives depend on it, ” Whitmer said during a news conference. “We’re going to have some tough weeks ahead. So I’m asking everyone — please, take this seriously.”