ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said schools have played a big part in spreading coronavirus.
Shortly after Sunday’s announcement that universities, colleges and high schools will go with fully remote learning, the Northville Public Schools district announced it will comply.
It won’t be easy for students and teachers who have gotten used to COVID-style learning, especially as we near the end of the semester and holiday breaks.
High schools and colleges will be closed for the next three weeks. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cited schools with older students as problem areas for spreading the coronavirus.
“It became clear to us that these congregating older students were inherently more risky in terms of COVID spread than our younger grades,” Whitmer said.
For weeks, colleges have trouble spots with illegal parties, unmasked gatherings and group living situations fueling the virus. The University of Michigan only just ended its latest stay-at-home order Nov. 3. Not even two weeks later, it will have to close its classroom doors again.
As the 2020-21 school year has gone on, state health officials have pointed to high schools as major areas of concern.
“Of the 200 outbreaks that we are currently investigating, 49% of them are associated with high schools,” Khaldun said. “Of the total number of individual cases associated with these outbreaks, almost two-thirds of those are associated with high schools.”
But the news is going to shake students and teachers, many of whom just returned to class. For UM sophomore Isabelle Schindler, the news coming on her 19th birthday, she hopes the orders will keep students from going out but has concerns about student living.
“I live in a sorority house with I believe like 54 other girls,” Schindler said. “So are we one household because we’re 54 people living in one house? But that’s so large. I think that’s one thing that’s going to be difficult on a college campus is simply is how it’s going to be different. There are kids living in dorms with hundreds of other people.”
The president of the Michigan Education Association applauded Whitmer’s actions but said they didn’t go far enough. They want all grades to back to online education in the best interest of students and staff.