LINCOLN – With many high schools set to welcome students back on campus in school buildings in the coming weeks, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts was joined by Education Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt Monday morning.
The duo provided more information during the ‘back-to-school’ press briefing discussing the steps schools are taking to reopen safely this fall.
Governor Ricketts reminded Nebraskans the whole point of following social distancing guideless is to be able to preserve the hospital capacity.
“We have successfully done this through the months of this pandemic,” said Ricketts. “We have our hospital capacity of 40% of our beds are available, 41% of our ICU beds are available and 83% of our ventilators are available”
Test Nebraska also set a new single day record by swabbing 3,791 people.
Getting into the back-to-school program in regard to K-12 education, both Governor Ricketts and Commissioner Blomstedt stated it’s very important to get students back in the classrooms.
Governor Ricketts added we have to think broadly of the importance of having kids back in the classrooms.
“Of course, parents ought to work with their principals, their superintendents, their teachers with regard to their individual family needs,” Ricketts added. “For example, if you have a child who has some underlying health conditions it may be very important then that you use a remote learning option for that child.”
Equity, flexibility, safety and being decisive were all highlighted during the briefing.
Commissioner Blomstedt mentioned the Nebraska Department of Education has asked schools to be thoughtful in understanding and analyzing risks.
“First of all, analyze their risk,” Blomstedt mentioned. “Do that with local health officials, do that with state officials, do that really together to understand what the community spread risk is. We’ve used everything from the phases that the governor has used state-wide as well as with risk dials with local health officials to really merge those two concepts together.
Both are looking forward to taking steps forward and working together with all their partners.
Governor Ricketts will hold another news conference on Wednesday, August 5 at 10 a.m. from the Governor’s Hearing Room at the State Capitol in Lincoln before next Monday’s back-to-school briefing for private colleges and state college addressing their plans.