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Parson tries to reassure as COVID-19 cases continue to climb

July 15, 2020 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson sought to reassure Missourians about the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday as the state reported 888 new confirmed cases, its second largest single-day increase.

“WE ARE NOT DEFENSELESS AGAINST COVID-19,” Parson, a Republican, said in a tweet. “We are much better prepared now to deal with the virus than we were in March. We know more about the virus. We know how to box-in outbreaks. We have accelerated testing and our health care system is stable.”

His tweet came as the number of new cases rose Wednesday to 29,714, up nearly 18% from a week ago. The only other day with a bigger jump was Tuesday, when 936 new cases were added to the total.

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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services also reported that the number of deaths rose by 10 to 1,103.

Amid the increases, schools are making decisions about what classes will look like in the fall.

The Ferguson-Florissant School District board said in an email sent to families that it is “strongly considering” not opening school buildings. Online learning would continue at least through October 21, the end of the first quarter, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Meanwhile, Springfield school officials unveiled a proposal Tuesday to allow families in the state’s largest district to choose in-person or virtual learning for the fall semester. A finalized plan is scheduled to be released July 23, but officials caution that tweaks may be needed throughout the year, depending on COVID-19, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

Nicole Holt, deputy superintendent of academics, said the district is also developing contingency plans to move students to virtual learning if a localized or widespread spike in COVID-19 cases prompts the closure of individual schools, or if the district must drop the daily occupancy of its buildings for a period of time.

“We have to plan for the worst,” she said.