"Today, we're fighting for a safe return to school. For most of us that means starting online. We know that one death is too many and that we're all at risk if we enter into school buildings right now. So, the safest way for us to return is to be online."
3. Various of teachers chanting, "Only when it's safe"
Dozens of Michigan teachers chanted and waved signs during a rally at the state Capitol designed to bring attention to the danger of schools reopening for in-person learning in the fall.
"So, here's my big question: What's the acceptable body count? I'm really asking. In order to send us completely virtual for the beginning of the year, how many people need to die," Livonia music teacher Mackenzie Sato said during an impassioned speech delivered from the Capitol steps.
The rally Thursday was organized by MI CORE, a teacher union caucus.
"We're fighting for a safe return to school. For most of us that means starting online," said Nichole Hartrick, a teacher in the Dearborn school district and one of the organizers of the event in Lansing.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said more than a month ago that she was optimistic about returning to in-person instruction during the upcoming academic year after it ended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under her plan, in-person classes are allowed but not required in both phases four -- which covers most of the state -- and five, which includes northern Michigan. Schools must follow safety protocols.
Several districts, including Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and many in and around Lansing, have announced plans to start with just online learning.