Whitmer to extend Michigan's state of emergency amid coronavirus

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday she will extend the state’s coronavirus state of emergency, which was set to expire Friday.

Whitmer said during a press conference that Michigan “will remain in some form of a state of emergency order.”

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“All 50 states are in some form of state of emergency and we will have to be as well,” Whitmer added.

The state of emergency for Michigan is not the same as the state’s stay-at-home order, which was lifted earlier this month.

Whitmer touted the state’s new coronavirus data, noting that it shows that Michigan’s “aggressive actions” have lowered the positive COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“The data shows that very few states dropped their infection rates as low as Michigan has,” she said. “Only Michigan and New York are on track to contain COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Whitmer on Wednesday also announced that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the state's reopening plan.

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Whitmer said that on June 30 she will release an executive order and a document called “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” which will provide details on what will be required and what will be recommended for schools. Whitmer also highlighted the need for support and flexibility from the federal government to help ensure resources for students and educators.

“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a statement Wednesday. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, those who have done their part to flatten the curve, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall.”

“Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families,” she added. “I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and leaders in health care to ensure we get this right, but we also need more flexibility and support from the federal government. This crisis has had serious implications on our budget, and we need federal support if we’re going to get this right for our kids.”

Whitmer said she will consider the state’s “Safe Start Plan” and determine “when, where and how face-to-face instruction can resume.”

The Roadmap, according to Whitmer’s office, will set the minimum health and safety requirements, while districts may choose to enact more aggressive ones in consultation with local public health officials.

The requirements, according to Whitmer’s office, will apply to all schools, including traditional public, charter, private and parochial schools.

As of Wednesday, Michigan reported more than 65,600 total positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,900 deaths since the pandemic began.