LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer an­nounced late Thursday eve­ning that she is ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings, public, private and boarding, to students, starting Monday. Schools will remain closed until Sunday, April 5.

She issued the order with the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19, caused by the novel coro­navirus, that is caus­ing mass disruptions to all walks of life across America.

“This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our fam­ilies, and our overall public health,” Whitmer said in a news release. “I am working with partners across state government to ensure edu­cators, parents, and students have the support they need during this time, and to en­sure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food. I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this to keep the most people we can safe. I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families.”

Michigan state Superintendent Michael Rice also weighed in: “Closing our K-12 school buildings is the responsible choice that will minimize the risk of exposure for children, educators, and families and mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” Rice said. “The Department of Education will continue to work closely with our partners in state government to help our students and educators in each school district get through this time. This is about protecting the most people in Michigan.”

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