KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday reiterated that comments he made about children being able to “get over” COVID-19 were “not articulated very well.”
“I want all Missourians to know the safety of our students, our educators and our school employees is extremely important to me, which I have spent an entire lifetime protecting people in my entire career," Parson said during a press briefing Wednesday. "What I said didn’t come out the way I intended.”
The governor said during a radio interview last week that youth are at the "lowest risk possible" for contracting COVID-19.
"If they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they're not going to the hospitals," he said on the Marc Cox Morning Show. "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."
Parson said on Wednesday that he was trying to convey there is a “very real possibility” COVID-19 could be in schools in the state.
“We want to be prepared for that,” he said.
The state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Health and Senior Services, along with school administrators, teachers and parents, have “worked hard” to prepare for the fall semester, according to Parson, though he said a “one-size approach” won’t work throughout the state.
“Each district will look different, but we must never lose focus on what our school systems are all about, our students and their education,” he said.
Parson also said he is the parent of a teacher and a grandfather to school-age children, all of whom he worries about.
“For someone to use politics as a tool to say that I don’t give a damn about children is one sick individual,” he said.
Missouri NEA President Phil Murray recently said that Parson’s comments showed “callous disregard.”