Gov. Parson calls next 2 weeks “critical” in fight against COVID-19

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri Governor Mike Parson believes the decision to lift or extend the current statewide stay-at-home order will be determined by whether Missourians practice social distancing and avoid contact with others.  He made the remarks during his daily briefing via Facebook Wednesday. 

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we are on the curve and hopefully we’re going to start going the other way but it is important, critically important, for us to make sure and we abide by this order for the next couple of weeks,” said Governor Parson.

Parson said he’s been in contact with other governors and federal officials about ways to transition out of a shutdown phase that’s helped reduce the spread of the deadly virus while also contributing to an overwhelming number of Missourians filing for unemployment. 

The briefing also provided more information about how emergency money will be spent to help school districts across the state.  Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven said some of the money would be used to help educate teachers on ways to teach remotely and to help bridge the digital divide in some urban and rural communities. 

She also said the state will be looking at ways to conduct summer school.  There will also be an analysis of how school settings could change for next fall.  Other states have looked into measures such as staggering schedules to create more social distancing. 

Director of Public Safety Sandy Karsten also provided and update on Monday’s announcement that thousands of facemasks sent to first responders had been recalled after they were inspected and found to be faulty.  State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Parson’s likely political opponent in November, has asked for more details about the recall. 

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Karsten did not directly address that request on Wednesday but said she was limited in what she could say about the recall due to potential litigation. She said the masks failed a fit test and were being sent to an independent lab for additional analysis.  She said the state would do everything it could to recoup the costs of purchasing 48,000 masks that have since been recalled. 

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