Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday extended the closure of school buildings across the state through the end of the school year, to slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“I know that this is a big challenge,” Whitmer said in a social media post. “I know that there isn’t a video chat or homework packet that can replace the value of a highly trained, experienced teacher working with students in a classroom. But the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented threat to our public health, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep you and your family safe.”
State Rep. Christine Greig, a Democrat from Farmington Hills and House Democratic Leader, said because the continued impact of the pandemic remains unknown, “we need decisive action to ensure we are protecting the people of Michigan.”
“Despite the fluidity of this crisis, parents, students, teachers and staff must have certainty and stability,” she said. “The order executed today provides clear parameters that educators can use to plan for the rest of the school year and beyond. Above all else, we must ensure that continuity of learning is preserved.”
During a press conference, Whitmer said that without more testing and more “robust” testing, opening schools is “too dangerous.” She also declined to say whether there would be changes to the 2020-2021 school year start date.
“I don’t think that we need to, with any certainty, say that our schools will start on this day,” she said, adding that the state has ended standardized testing and allowed districts flexibility with their school calendar.
As of Thursday morning, Michigan had 9,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 337 deaths. Oakland County has reported 1,940 cases and 96 deaths.
A ZIP code map of Farmington and Farmington Hills shows that, across the two cities, 188 residents have tested positive for the virus.