LANSING (WJRT) (3/12/2020) - All K-12 schools in Michigan are closing for three weeks beginning Monday as the state makes big steps to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces that she has ordered all K-12 schools in Michigan to close from March 16 to April 5 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced late Thursday that schools will be required to close from March 16 to April 5. Classes will be allowed to begin again on April 6 unless the situation changes.
"This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families and our overall public health," Whitmer said.
While schools are allowed to have classes Friday, many in Mid-Michigan opted to close for the day and get an early start on the three-week shutdown.
Whitmer's administration is working with all areas of the state government to make sure children who rely on school meals will be adequately fed during the three-week shutdown.
"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."
She pointed out that governors in Ohio, Kentucky and Maryland have taken similar steps to close all public schools as a preventative measure against coronavirus.
Whitmer declared a statewide State of Emergency on Tuesday. She offered a list of recommendations for individuals, organizations, businesses and schools to consider for limiting the spread of coronavirus.
Among those recommendations, Whitmer discouraged groups of 100 or more people from gathering in one place at a time. That led to a host of event cancellations announced all day Thursday, including the suspension of Michigan High School Athletic Association winter sports playoffs.
Superintendents from school districts in Genesee County met with the Genesee County Health Department on Thursday to discuss ways schools can prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to the Genesee Intermediate School District.
They began planning already for a possible long-term school closure, which Whitmer put in place late Thursday.
Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools announced earlier Thursday that the district will be closed Friday and Monday. The district also canceled all practices and events on school grounds.
Siblings who attend Carman-Ainsworth Middle School and Dye Elementary School may have been exposed to coronavirus on March 7, according to Superintendent Eddie Kindle.
The students were not showing any symptoms of coronavirus on Thursday, but they remained in a self quarantine.
Whitmer's order closing schools came a short time after she and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that the number of presumptive confirmed coronavirus cases jumped from three to 12.
None of the confirmed cases is in Mid-Michigan. The 10 new coronavirus cases in Michigan announced Thursday include:
-- An adult male from St. Clair County who recently traveled in the U.S.
-- An adult female from Ingham County with history of travel on a cruise.
-- Two adult females from Kent County and one adult male, all with history of international travel.
-- An adult female from Montcalm County with history of international travel.
-- Two adult males from Oakland County; one with no travel history and one with domestic travel.
-- One adult female and one adult male from Washtenaw County; one with history of domestic travel and one with history of international travel.
Those cases are in addition to Michigan's first two presumptive confirmed coronavirus cases announced late Tuesday. They include a female from Oakland County who recently traveled internationally and a male from Wayne County who recently traveled in the U.S.
Coronavirus symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath. The best ways to prevent coronavirus and other viruses include:
-- Washing hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
-- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
-- Covering to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
-- Avoiding contact with sick people and staying home when ill.