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As parents across Michigan eagerly wait to find out what the next school year will look like for their children, Michigan's Chief Medical Executive says there is not yet a clear outline as to where Michigan will be at the beginning of the school year.

In a virtual town hall meeting hosted by Detroit TV station WXYZ, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said a lot depends on how well Michigan residents follow mask and social distancing protocols over the next month.

“It really depends on how everyone behaves, wearing masks, social distancing,” Khaldun said. “I’ll be honest, what people do in the general community is going to be critically important to how we’re able to get our kids back to school.”

Khaldun clarified that there is a distinction between school and general indoor gatherings which have been recently been restricted to 10 people or fewer by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

"It's one thing to talk about a bar or just a general social gathering," Khaldun said. "When you have kids being educated, that's a very different thing and you always have to look at the risks and also the benefits."

Khaldun reiterated that it's impossible to determine the impact the latest Executive Order will have and what COVID-19 numbers will look like in a month or two.

“We could be in a totally different place, either better or worse, quite frankly in a few weeks,” Khaldun said. “It really depends on the behaviors of everyone.”

Dr. Khaldun went on to say that the governor's administration is not just concerned about the beginning of the school year but concerned that students will be able to continue in-person learning on a long-term basis.

"What people do in the general community is going to be critically important to how we're able to get our kids back to school and not just back to school in late August and September, but making sure they actually stay in school," she said. "Even if they do go back to school, with in-person learning, what the parents do is still going to be important."

Other panelists included a student, school administrator and teachers who weighed in with concerns about in-person vs. online learning in the fall.

Safely Back to School virtual town hallWATCH LIVE: We're hosting a virtual town hall as part of our Safely Back to School coverage. We'll be joined by health experts, school officials, parents and students. Please send us your questions!

Posted by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 on Thursday, July 30, 2020

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