NOVI, Michigan (WXYZ) — Right now parents are scrambling to make adjustments. They are reacting to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order to shut down high schools across Michigan for three weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For the last couple of weeks, 5-year-old Taylor from Grosse Pointe Woods has been learning virtually. Her district shut down in person learning due to rising COVID-19 rates. Her dad, Brad Pettiford, says it is not easy juggling parenting a 2- and 5-year-old. He has advice for parents making the adjustment.
“I looked it as an opportunity of getting to spend the time with my girls, as opposed to having too. That perspective made it easier,” Pettiford said.
“There are fewer outbreaks associated with the outbreaks associated with the younger children ,most in need of in-person instruction,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director, as he made the announcement. “Today we temporarily suspend all in person learning for all high schools for three weeks.”
He made the announcement during a press conference with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the State’s Chief Medical Executive.
School leaders found themselves immediately working on new plans to comply.
Lake Orion Community Schools announced that it would move all grades to virtual learning. Not only was it reacting to the order to close high schools, but to an overall increase in quarantines impacting staffing levels. Novi Community Schools however will continue kindergarten through eighth-grade instruction.
“We will continue to offer our K-8 students and parents the opportunity for hybrid instruction,” said Dr. Steve Matthews, Supt. Novi Community Schools
Novi Supt. Dr. Steve Matthews says that the social distancing and masks work. The 33 students or staff who became sick in the district this school year, contracted the virus outside of school. He says preventing COVID-19 in schools is a community effort.
“I am really worried about Thanksgiving. I am worried about the holiday break at the end of December,” Dr. Matthews said.
He is urging everyone to take the virus seriously so that in-person learning can be an option for more students – something Pettiford says he hopes is soon possible in his daughter’s district.
“I am looking forward to her being able to get back in person regularly and build relationships with people and grow emotionally,” Pettiford said.