Whitmer: Closing schools over COVID-19 concerns ‘the right thing to do’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the number of school employees who have tested positive for the new coronavirus — and the addition of a young person to the list of new cases — illustrates why she has ordered schools shuttered.

“Closing our schools in this moment is the right thing to do to ensure that parents and educators and children have the support they need,” Whitmer said during a press conference Sunday. 

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan grew to 53 people Sunday night, up from 45 earlier in the day and 33 Saturday night.

She referred to the three school employees who since Thursday have tested positive for the virus. Among those diagnosed is a staff member at Osborn High School in Detroit.

Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has said more staff members at Osborn are exhibiting symptoms. In addition to the three school employees, Whitmer said, “a younger person” is in the new group of cases identified Sunday.

Details on the new cases are expected to be released later in the evening.

“I know there is stress,” Whitmer said. “I know people are worried.”

Though many schools closed Friday, Monday marks the first day schools in the state are required to be closed under Whitmer’s order. The shutdown continues through April 5, with school expected to resume April 6.