JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Less than 24 hours after Governor Mike Parson won the Republican primary election for governor, he was back briefing Missourians on the state’s fight against COVID-19 and schools reopening.
Parson said Missouri is one of the states the White House is concerned about due to the increase of positive COVID-19 cases. Although numbers keep going up, Parson is focused on teachers and students getting back to school, where the virus isn’t interfering.
“People are people for their kids to go back to school,” Parson said. “Most of them, I would say in rural Missouri, for sure 90 percent of the superintendents say parents want their kids back in school. There is no one-size-fits-all in the schools. Every school district will look differently based on its unique needs.”
The governor recently toured schools across the state, asking administrators if they have a plan to reopen in the fall.
“We talked through their different needs and challenges and it was encouraging to hear about their plans to safely resume teaching whether that be in-person classes, virtual learning or a combination of both,” Parson said.
Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said the state is discussing a plan if a student or teacher tests positive.
“It’s vital that as soon as the student is identified that the student either self reports or the school becomes aware of that and that needs to be done in a very time sensitive way,” Williams said.
Parson said the state’s backlog of 7,000 COVID tests was eliminated last week.
“I’m happy to report that the backlog has been eliminated as of last Friday and our team at DHSS is back to recording each day what has come to them in the past 24 hours,” Parson said. “It is important to note that these recent increases were partially due to the backlog of data in the state level.”
Missouri is on the radar in Washington D.C. for their increase in coronavirus cases.
“On Sunday, Vice President Pence personally called me to offer additional assistance and resources as Missouri continues to fight this virus,” Parson said.
Parson said those resources could be PPE. Besides being concerned about COVID-19, Missouri voters decided to expand Medicaid in Tuesday’s election. A measure Parson was against.
“The people of the state of Missouri voted that in so we’re going to have to deal with it and implement it and it’s one of the reasons we put it on the August ballot so we could somewhat have time to prepare for that,” Parson said. “We’re just gonna have to find the money to be able to pay for it but we’ll figure that out.”