‘We should do better together’ -- Metro Detroit parents of children with disabilities push for more COVID mitigation

People with disabilities are up to six times more likely to die from coronavirus

As children return to schools -- many without a mask or vaccine mandate -- parents of children with disabilities have an urgent plea.
As children return to schools -- many without a mask or vaccine mandate -- parents of children with disabilities have an urgent plea.

DETROIT – As children return to schools -- many without a mask or vaccine mandate -- parents of children with disabilities have an urgent plea.

Over the course of the COVID pandemic, people with disabilities have been some of the most at-risk and often the least protected from a virus that is more likely to kill them. Now these parents are urging leaders and neighbors to come together to keep their children safe.

Read: Tracking Michigan school districts, colleges requiring masks for 2021-2022 school year

Local 4 spoke with two Metro Detroit mothers who asked for their identities to be hidden out of concern of potential backlash directed at their children.

“It’s frustrating,” one mother said. “Being anonymous is really me using my voice and our family story to share that we’re here. There are parents, children like mine. You’re not alone. We should be able to do better together.”

They’re asking for stronger guidelines in schools around COVID precautions -- mask mandates and more.

“We would also like to see a return to social distancing. We would also like to see periodic testing for staff and teachers who are not vaccinated. We would like to see better ventilation within our schools, better filtration consistently within our schools,” one mother said. “That would make me and our family a lot more comfortable, but I know it works for many others.”

Related: Disability advocates claim Michigan left vulnerable residents behind amid COVID pandemic

Those with disabilities are up to six times more likely to die from COVID-19. They often lack access to necessary care or support. That’s why these mothers are using their voices to inspire empathy as tensions reach a boiling point.

“For our kids with disabilities -- like my child and other people’s -- we’re making more sacrifices and I think a lot of that is unnecessary,” one mother said. “Some of it could be better mitigated. We know our officials are doing this wrong.”


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About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.