All Michigan schools to close as coronavirus spreads, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces

All K-12 school buildings will close March 16 through April 5 as the state seeks to address coronavirus, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in a press release late Thursday.

Schools will re-open April 6, though Whitmer said that may be adjusted or extended.

“This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” Whitmer said.

“I am working with partners across state government to ensure educators, parents, and students have the support they need during this time, and to ensure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food. I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this to keep the most people we can safe. I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families.”

Whitmer said in a press conference Thursday it was not a decision she took lightly and pointed to other states that have ordered the closure of schools as well.

The order applies to all public, private and boarding school buildings in Michigan.

The state now has 12 presumptive positive tests for coronavirus, up from the first two announced on Tuesday, when the governor declared a state of emergency.

All public universities have canceled or suspended in-person classes, and some private colleges have as well. School districts including Ann Arbor Public Schools, Dearborn Public Schools and Saline Area Schools have announced temporary cancellations related to concerns about the virus.

Coronavirus symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include fever, cough and shortness of breath. For most, the symptoms are mild, but it poses a serious danger to others.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus has sickened 1,215 people and resulted in 36 deaths, nationally.

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