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Politics & Government

Teachers gather at Capitol to call out danger of re-opening schools

michigan state capitol building in lansing, mi
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Lawmakers in Lansing may have to cut revenue sharing with local governments to fill the $1.8 billion budget hole.

Dozens of Michigan school employees rallied Thursday at the state Capitol to call for a safe school re-opening strategy.

Members of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, or “CORE,” came to Lansing to talk about several school issues.

The group is calling on districts to start school only if their communities have gone 14 days with no cases of COVID-19.

The rally took place on a day when state lawmakers were originally scheduled to review a package of Republican-sponsored bills that focus on re-opening schools.

But all meetings this week were canceled when Republican state Senator Tom Barrett of Charlotte tested positive for COVID-19.

CORE organizer Paul Sandy noted the lawmakers' absences.
“Where are they today? There was one case of COVID, and they’re out for the entire week. So what’s going to happen at the first school where there’s one case of COVID?” said Sandy.

Livonia music teacher McKenzie Sato made an impassioned statement from the steps of the state Capitol.

“In order to send us completely virtual for the beginning of the year, how many people need to die? How many people need to contract this virus when we could significantly reduce the infection of our communities, of our staff, of our teachers, of our students if we were to be online? And why is the answer any more than one?” said Sato.

Many Lansing-area school districts will begin the upcoming school year online, adopting a wait-and-see approach to reo-pening buildings for instruction.

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