All K-12 school buildings in Michigan are closed starting Monday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday. The closure applies to public, private and boarding schools. Schools are set to reopen on April 6.
As of Friday afternoon, Michigan has 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, also called COVID-19, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” said Whitmer in a statement. “I am working with partners across state government to ensure educators, parents, and students have the support they need during this time, and to ensure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food.”
Other governors, including those in Ohio and Kentucky, have also ordered schools closed. Other states have recommended that schools move to online classes, as some universities and college have done.
“Closing our K-12 school buildings is the responsible choice that will minimize the risk of exposure for children, educators and families and mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” said Michigan State Superintendent Michael Rice in a statement. “The Department of Education will continue to work closely with our partners in state government to help our students and educators in each school district get through this time. This is about protecting the most people in Michigan.”
The United States currently more than 1,600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 40 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School closures are seen as a way to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Closing our school buildings is the smart thing and the right thing to do for the public’s health,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun in a statement. “These actions will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan.”
Khaldun is the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief deputy for health and chief medical executive.
The coronavirus is marked by symptoms of a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this to keep the most people we can safe,” Whitmer said. “I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families.”
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]