What 4 parents and educators need with weeks to go in Michigan’s historic school shutdown

One thing is clear about Michigan’s statewide school shutdown, which will continue for at least three more weeks: This is going to be tough for parents and teachers.

“This is a scary time for all of us,” said Dawn Bruce Pollard, a preschool teacher at Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School in Detroit.

Pollard will be paid during the shutdown, but she worries about students being left home alone while parents work, and about parents losing jobs so they can care for their families.

Her answers came to us via Chalkbeat’s online survey of parent and teacher needs. Many of the respondents echoed concerns being voiced across the country.  School closures aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus now affect 35.9 million students, more than half of the nation’s school population.

Tell us how school closures and COVID-19 are affecting your life in the box below. Keep scrolling to see more responses from Michigan parents and teachers.

🔗Dinah Aremo, parent at Washington Parks Academy in Detroit.

I support my children the best way I can through my own means and Bridge Card. I’m disabled so the school meals help me rest due to my illness. I can’t prepare as many meals as the normal family. It’s a little hard on us but we are doing our best to make it work.

🔗Dawn Bruce Pollard, preschool teacher at Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School in Detroit

I teach pre-K and am mailing packets home to my students. We were not given any directives regarding instruction or homework. I plan on making videos reading my students favorite books from my classroom to keep them engaged in literacy. I worry about our students being left home alone while parents work. I also worry about parents becoming unemployed so they can care for their families. This is a scary time for all of us. The staff was feeling pretty sad today packing up to go home.

🔗Monique Roddy, educator at Eastern High School in Lansing

Our unions have stated that we would be paid for any time missed. Our backpack program gave out more food for the weekend, a collection was taken up to purchase additional food for our students. My biggest concern is that the reliance on internet educational platforms might put teachers out of jobs.

🔗Kendon Smith, Science teacher, Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn, Mi.

Students are not responsible for any online learning or other curriculum during the break at this time. Many kids in our district would lack adequate devices and internet at home to use them on. Meals are still being provided and can be picked up during the break if needed. Custodial staff is cleaning daily and spraying viricide in classrooms. No one is to be in the school during this time. I am however still planning to meet outside of school with a small group of my Chemistry students to continue preparing for the AP Chemistry exam.