Pause In-Person Schooling in Michigan Until It's Safe

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Michigan has the highest spread of COVID-19 per capita in the entire country (source) and state data shows that K-12 schools are the number one leading place that COVID-19 outbreaks are occurring (source). And as students and staff return from spring break, the risk for increases in transmission are even higher. The mass vaccination efforts are encouraging, but public health experts acknowledge that we are in a race against the more transmissible and more virulent strains of the coronavirus. Now is not the time to relax important, necessary safety measures.

We the teachers, students, and community members of Michigan demand that in-person schooling is paused in Michigan until the COVID-19 spread goes down and we can ensure safe learning environments. We demand that this pause happens on a per county level until there are an average of less than 20 per 100,000 in the past 7 days, identified by the CDC as “lower risk for transmission in schools”  (source). According to data right now, Michigan has a 7-day average of 56.7 cases per 100,000, over double what is considered safe to reopen schools (source). We demand that this pause occurs on a per county level until the COVID-19 test positivity rate goes below 5% as suggested by the World Health Organization last year (source)- currently we are over double of that (source).

As COVID-19- related hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks at our health systems (source) and the more infectious and deadly UK COVID-19 variant takes hold in our state, (source) it is simply not safe to have schools open to staff and students.

Enough of the haphazard plans that have led to people getting sick and dying.

Enough of valuing money over life and safety.

Enough of downplaying the science when it comes to students and their families.

Enough of ignoring the needs of our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members- we know that this virus disproportionately harms marginalized communities.

Together we say: ENOUGH. We demand these changes and fight together to ensure that we take care of our students, our school workers, and our communities.

Signed,

Michigan Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (MICORE), Black Lives Matter Michigan, Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan (DAYUM), MI Ed Justice, Detroit Heals Detroit, MI Students Dream