ST. LOUIS — Missouri Governor Mike Parson is making national headlines after his comments on a radio show about the reopening of schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Parson did an interview with radio host Marc Cox on KFTK 97.1 FM on July 17.
“These kids have got to get back to school. They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will, and they will when they go to school, they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it,” Gov. Parson said in the interview.
“We gotta get real with that and realize that we gotta move forward. The risk of not getting youth involved in activities, the risk of not putting them back in school, I guarantee you will create more problems than the virus will ever think about creating, long-term for our state. So we gotta figure this out, we gotta get it balanced, we gotta get life back to as normal as we can get it there.”
The comments come as school districts in the St. Louis area announce reopening plans and options for families and students for the upcoming school year.
Gov. Parson shared on Twitter on Monday, “WE ARE NOT DEFENSELESS AGAINST COVID-19. We CAN take steps to protect ourselves, social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands. We must all continue to do this as we move forward.”
Also on Monday, a high school in O’Fallon, Missouri reported 19 of its students tested positive for the coronavirus after an outdoor graduation ceremony and off-site prom held earlier this month.
RELATED: High school students test positive for COVID-19 after outdoor graduation ceremony, off-site prom
Dr. Alex Garza, leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said safely reopening schools in the fall will come down to more than just planning for school districts.
RELATED: ‘It can’t just be on the doorstep of the schools’ | Task force says slowing spread of COVID-19 is vital to opening schools safely
Dr. Garza said one of the most important factors in reopening schools safely will be limiting the spread of the coronavirus in the community over the next few weeks.
"The way to send our kids and our teachers and our support staff back to school safely is to decrease virus in the community," he said. "It can't just all be on the doorstep of the schools."
State Auditor Nicole Galloway shared the following tweet after Gov. Parson’s comments,