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State schools superintendent talks about return to normalcy, keeping kids safe

Posted at 7:34 AM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 07:34:20-05

(WXYZ) — We're taking a closer look at how the pandemic is affecting schools and what's being done to make some type of return to normal while protecting students from the COVID-19 virus.

We're being joined by State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice to talk about it.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

"What people, perhaps, don't realize is that at the beginning of the year we had the large majority of our districts that were doing in-person instruction, at least as an option, and that percentage increased right up until we had our second wave of COVID cases in November and into December, at which point we had to shut down the high schools," Rice says. "And for many districts, that meant shutting down the elementaries and middles as well. But I think it's a realistic goal and I think that our local school districts are going to be working hard to realize that goal."

"I will say that for those that are medically challenged, or medically vulnerable in any way, shape, or form, they need to continue to educate children at a distance, and to work from home. But so many people are capable, with appropriate mitigation strategies, of being in space with young people and educating our young people, and I think it's not only possible, but it's desirable," he says. "We know that every parent and every child aren't going to want to attend school, we understand that but that the option ought to be available to all of our parents so a parent or a family that chooses to continue to educate their children at home thins out numbers at school and permits the choice for another parent or parents who fell that in-person instruction is right for his or her child."