East Lansing K-12 Schools Will All Close Under Governor’s Order

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Friday, March 13, 2020, 12:08 am
Alice Dreger

Photo courtesy State of Michigan.

With the statewide count of COVID-19 cases rising to twelve yesterday, late last night Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that she is ordering all K-12 schools in the State to close from Monday, March 16, through April 5.

The closure includes “all K-12 school buildings, public, private, and boarding.”

The goal is to try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. While children do not appear to be severely affected by the disease unless they have underlying health problems, children can act as vectors for the virus and infect others, including older adults and those with medical conditions that put them at much higher risk of death.

Whitmer's own daughters attend East Lansing High School.

On Twitter last night, ELPS Superintendent Dori Leyko noted that ELPS schools will be open today, March 13. She added, “We respect parents’ decisions to keep their children home. Many parents won’t have childcare yet [in place on Friday], and we’d like students to take home belongings, medication, etc.”

In an email to her top leadership staff just before midnight, Leyko said that more information would be coming from the District on Friday. She urged her staff to remember to “remain calm, positive and flexible with your colleagues and our students.”

Leyko wrote, “This closing may cause fear in some of our students, so it’s crucial for us to be a calming force for them, especially as some students may be worried about what their next few weeks bring for them and when they may see their friends and teachers again.”

Whitmer’s statement indicated that her own staff is working “to ensure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food.”

But, as of right now, it is unclear what provisions are being made for students who ordinarily obtain food from schools.

It’s also unclear whether the plan will involve attempting instruction via internet connections – another challenge for families on the low-end of the income spectrum.

Earlier yesterday, ELi’s Mark Meyer reported the suspension of postseason events by MHSAA (the Michigan High School Athletic Association) and Emily Joan Elliott reported on ELPS starting to shut down non-essential meetings.

This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.

UPDATED: ELPS Superintendent sent a message to district families this morning and it includes information about Spring Break. Read it here.

ELi has created a section for our reporting on COVID-19’s impact on East Lansing. Find it here.


This article was updated at 7:30 a.m. to reflect the Governor's directive on adjusting Spring Break.


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