Michigan children won’t return to the classroom this school year in midst of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Executive Order shuts buildings

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer officially closed schools for the remainder of the school year Thursday.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer officially closed schools for the remainder of the school year Thursday.

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer officially closed schools for the remainder of the school year Thursday.

The announcement comes after schools temporarily shuttered as coronavirus (COVID-19) began rapidly spreading in the state.

READ MORE: K-12 schools closed for rest of school year -- what we know

“My heart breaks for the teachers and the kiddos,” Deborah Kies said. “There is something about being in the classroom and being with your fellow students and teacher the kids thrive upon every day.”

Kies has a child in fifth grade and a child in second grade.

RELATED: Metro Detroit superintendents discuss what’s next for students

Many parents are concerned about the social and emotional well-being of students, parents and teachers.

“My daughter is in band. She’s desperate to connect with her friends with the marching band,” said Liza Parkinson, the president of the Utica Teachers Association.

Whitmer said she made the decision with safety in mind, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and associated deaths continue to rise.

As of Thursday afternoon, 10,791 people have the virus and 417 have died.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Authors:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.