A St. Louis woman whose mother died from the coronavirus in June is calling on Missouri’s governor and other elected officials to take stronger action to control the spread of the disease.

St. Louis resident Angela Kender briefs Capitol reporters in Jefferson City on August 11, 2020. Kender’s mother died from COVID in June (photo courtesy of Ben Peters at House Communications)

Angela Kender traveled to Jefferson City on Tuesday to deliver copies of photos of Missourians who’ve died from COVID to the governor’s office. Kender also joined House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, for a Statehouse news conference. Kender says COVID families have had enough.

“Missourians are dying due to terrible leadership, and in this state, lack of policy entirely. The continued deaths are preventable and that is why I am here today. My mother’s life mattered,” Kender says.

Kender supports a statewide mask order, that includes schools. She brought 15 photos of Missourians who have died from COVID.

“I am here today to shine light on these faces that are gone,” says Kender. “Because if you look at these faces and you don’t realize that it could easily be you or your loved one, you are sadly mistaken.”

State health officials say there have been 1,312 COVID deaths in Missouri.

Missourinet contacted the governor’s office to see if they have a response to Kender’s comments. We have not heard back, at this time.

Governor Mike Parson (R) opposes a statewide mask order, telling Missourinet at a July 22 press conference that it’s not the state’s place to mandate everyone to wear a mask.

“I am not anti-mask and I’ll say that clearly again. I wear a mask from time-to-time when I feel that need is there. I am not anti-mask, what I am is anti-mandates,” Parson said that day.

The governor also announced last week that 1.8 million cloth masks have been made available through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and that state officials are developing a plan to distribute them to school districts. Parson also said last week that $7.5 million of Missouri’s Coronavirus Relief Fund has been allocated to a cost-share program with local counties, to help schools cover personal protective equipment (PPE) costs. The money will also help schools with cleaning and medical supplies for school buildings and buses.

Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven testified Tuesday before a House committee in Jefferson City. Vandeven says the state has distributed as much federal COVID aid to schools, as it can at this time.

As for Leader Quade, she wants Governor Parson to call a special session about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the pandemic still spreading throughout Missouri, the governor’s top priority should be on protecting lives,” Quade says. “Instead, the governor wants to talk about anything but COVID-19. However, we will not let the human toll of this disease be forgotten.”

Quade says Missouri’s school districts have not received proper guidance from the Parson administration, about this fall.

Quade and Kender were also joined Tuesday by a Kansas City teacher, who represents a new group called “Missourians for Educational Change.” He expresses safety concerns about school reopening, and says it should be virtual.

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