Whitmer orders schools closed in Michigan to try to slow the coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020

All K-12 building in Michigan will be closed to students beginning Monday, March 16
Credit Michigan.gov

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered public and private schools in Michigan to close as part of the state’s effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“In an abundance of caution, I am ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings in Michigan for three weeks starting Monday, March 16th until Sunday, April 5th,” she said.

The number of presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan has spiked to 12 – and more are expected. Whitmer says K-12 schools are an obvious nexus where the virus can be spread.

“This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly,” she said. “A lot of districts have taken action and already closed themselves.” 

Whitmer says other states hit by a wave of infections have taken similar steps.

Most schools are on spring break for part of that period, which she says will reduce the number of lost classroom days. Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice said he understands there is more than just lost classroom time at stake.

“There are many children that rely on our schools for meals,” he said. “We will be working with our local school districts to provide guidance to help children access food during this time.”

Whitmer said help may be available if school districts lose state aid payments as a result of cancelled school days. But she says most schools are on spring break for part of that period, which will reduce the number of lost classroom days.