Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday said that kids need to back to school even if it means they’ll get COVID-19. 

“These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson said. “They’re at the lowest risk possible.”

Parson said the kids who get COVID-19 will “get over it.”

The Republican governor’s comments came as the Trump administration pushed for schools to reopen in the fall, even as the virus continues to spread at alarming rates across the US.

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson

Jeff Roberson/AP

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, in a radio interview on Friday said that children have to go back to school, where they will get COVID-19 but will “get over it.” 

“These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson told Marc Cox on KFTK. “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. 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.”

“We gotta move on,” he said. “We can’t just let this thing stop us in our tracks.”

Related: 6 months of coronavirus in the USA, reviewed in 6 minutes

Parson’s comments came amid a nationwide debate over whether schools should fully reopen in the fall with the virus still raging across the US. 

COVID-19 symptoms have generally been milder among children than adults, but there have been instances of kids dying from the virus. 

Dr. Alex Garza, incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, on Sunday told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that while the risk of children getting seriously ill is evidently lower, they’re still concerned about the potential impact of reopening schools on teachers, support staff and volunteers.

“Many of those people will have a much more serious response to the virus and that is what we want to avoid. These children could also come home and spread the virus to others in their household who could also be at a greater risk of a serious outcome,” Garza said. 

Story continues

President Donald Trump has pushed for schools to reopen, threatening to withhold federal funding from schools that don’t, but recent polling found that a strong majority of Americans oppose Trump on this matter. 

As of Monday morning, there were over 3.7 million reported coronavirus cases in the US, and nearly 141,000 confirmed fatalities, per Johns Hopkins.

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