Tag Archives: Back to School

Governor Whitmer Announces Stricter Statewide Guidelines

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced at 9pm via Twitter on Tuesday night that she would be expanding and re-upping various restrictions in the mitten state as a response to what she claims has been a recent spike in cases.

“I’ve said this from the start — these are difficult decisions, but I will do what is necessary to protect the brave men and women on the front lines, avoid overwhelming our healthcare system, and save lives,” Whitmer tweeted on Tuesday night.

Her most recent order rolls back indoor gatherings to 10 or fewer people in a state-wide restriction that much of the progress that had been made towards opening the state. Other restrictions that have pertained to much of the state’s restaurants and taprooms will now also be extended to areas of northern Michigan, which had been largely open in recent weeks.

The full text of the press release is below for your review.


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8.

“As we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Michiganders cannot afford to drop our guard. We must take every step possible to saave lives, protect the brave men and women on the front lines, and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system while we continue to combat COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”   

COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases. Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)  

Executive Order 2020-160 also orders that bars in every region, including those in regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.  

Under the governor’s orders, Detroit casinos will also be allowed to open on August 5, but their occupancy will be limited to 15% capacity. Casinos must also, among other things, conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees, temperature screening. Casinos must require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes. 

Executive Order 2020-160 will rescind Executive Orders 2020-110, 2020-115, 2020-120, 2020-133, and 2020-143.  

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

To view Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, click the links below: 

Back to School: Through the Eyes of a Student

As we begin to enter the final weeks of August, high school students are preparing themselves for an annual bittersweet event: Back to School.

Teens across the state brace themselves for the highs and lows of the academic rigor, athletic endeavor and social life that await them this year in the modern high school experience. We wanted to dive deeper into the mind of students preparing to trudge their way to school in the coming weeks and see what excitement or apprehensions they have about the forthcoming school year.

We gathered six area high school students and asked them four questions about back to school expectations in hopes of gaining some valuable insight from today’s high school students.

The Students

Sarah W, 16, Junior at East Grand Rapids High School
Karlton Z, 17, Senior at Grant High School
Lauren S, 17, Senior at Kent City High School
Nick F, 18, Senior at Kent City High School
Hannah G, 16, Sophomore at Sparta High School
Jared S, 16, Sophomore at East Kentwood High School

“What are you most excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: ““My first hour online class. I’m learning sign language.” 
Karlton Z: “Getting back to playing tennis. It’s my favorite sport.” 
Lauren S: “To start preparing for my future through taking some more advanced classes and some more classes that are geared toward what I want to do for a future career.” 
Nick F: “To finish my senior year of sports so I can make a decision on where I want to compete at the next level.” 
Hannah G: “The new things I’ll be learning. Mostly academic, but it’ll be nice to see my friends and create new relationships with the new teachers I’ll be having.” 
Jared S: “Being able to see my friends once I get back to school.” 

“What are you least excited about when going back to school?”

Sarah W: “I am not looking forward to seeing the immature and rude people at my school.” 
Karlton Z: “All the stress that comes along with school. Trying to get good grades in classes and on tests and exams and stuff like that. Balancing school and other things is stressful as well.” 
Lauren S: “Trying to balance extracurriculars and work. I love my sports and stuff like that, but I need to make money for college and post graduation things. It’s just a lot of stuff to balance.” 
Nick F: “The tough college classes that I’m taking this year.”
Hannah G: “Any drama that might come my way.”
Jared S: “The amount of stress that the start of school and sports is going to put on me.”

“What would you like to accomplish this school year?”

Sarah W: “I want to try to have at least all A’s and B’s.”
Karlton Z: “I’d really like to be valedictorian of my graduating class. It’s been a dream of mine for a while.” 
Lauren S: “I really want to make it into a good college and have my future plans set before school gets out. Also, a state championship in band, basketball, and/or softball would be really nice.” 
Nick F: “I would really like to get in the top 10 in the state for cross country this year.” 
Hannah G: “I want to get good grades on my future exams, and I want to have a 95% or above in all of my classes.” 
Jared S: “I would like to get a 4 on my college board exam for my AP World History class.” 

“What are you most nervous about?”

Sarah W: “I’m most nervous about dangerous people entering the school. Bomb threats and shootings and things like that.” 
Karlton Z: “I’m really nervous about not making it to state for tennis. It’s my last chance to experience it, being a senior.” 
Lauren S: “I’m most nervous about stretching myself too thin. I have high goals set for myself and I gotta be smart about not over committing myself.”
Nick F: ” “I’m most nervous about what my final GPA is going to be. I’m hoping to keep it up this year.” 
Hannah G: “Not succeeding and not making my parents proud.”
Jared S: “The start of sports going into this upcoming school year.” 

The Similarities

Within the students answers, there were a couple similarities. The six were divided on what they were looking forward to between classes, extracurriculars, and seeing their friends at school.

Most, if not all of the students at one point mentioned being concerned about the high levels of stress that high school students have to experience at times. The current education system, combined with time consumed by other activities, can cause enormous amounts of stress and anxiety, not to mention the stressors that can be caused by peers and personal expectations.

As schools begin the 2019-2020 school year this week, it is important that family and friends help support students in classes and extracurriculars as well as keeping a watchful eye on any stress or anxiety that may be starting to build up. Check back for future articles detailing the warning signs family and friends should be monitoring.

5 Tips for the Best Back to School

It’s almost that time of year again. The days get shorter. The temperatures get cooler. The kids grasp the last threads of summer freedom and parents gently nudge their grip loose. It is BACK TO SCHOOL!

Across Michigan, parents will be tearfully seeing their child off to the bus for the first time, loading shopping carts with various office supplies, and perhaps celebrating the trudge of their high schooler from bed and out the door at an hour they haven’t seen the past three months.

Regardless of which situation you find yourself in, the moment is nearly here and we have some tips for handling back to school in the most effective, efficient and value-friendly way possible.

Tip #1

Start your back to school at Meijer or similar chains. These stores will often have supply lists submitted by the school and can be picked up in advance of your actual back to school shopping day. Grab one in a trip for groceries and take it home in order to form your plan of attack. Resist the urge to start grabbing things on the list during that initial trip.

Tip #2

While it may seem advantageous to “get it done in one trip,” it is wise to break your list up and attack it based on categories. While many stores have back to school specials, the tried and true dollar store is an unbeatable deal for 90% of your student’s office supplies. Folders, pens, scissors, notebooks, calculators and other items can all be had in various styles & types for a fraction of what you will find at bigger box stores.

Tip #3

Check with the school office or even send a message to the school’s social media account to see if an open house is going to be available ahead of your student’s first day. This can be beneficial for first time students or students transitioning between grade levels or buildings. This is a great time where the students (and you) can familiarize themselves with the new environment, meet a teacher, see familiar faces and even make a couple new acquaintances with new ones.

Tip #4

It is certainly easier to shop for school clothes without your child present, but be aware that while we all like to think we are on the cutting edge of fashion, our student likely has a firmer grasp on the trends and styles that they would like to express in their clothing. Check with the school handbook to make sure articles are up to code, but aside from that, let their style be theirs. This will save you the time of having to return items and save them the embarrassment of looking like their parent dressed them.

Tip #5

Have fun! This is an exciting time of year for children and parents, alike. These days can be among the most fun memories your children will have from their school days. Relish the opportunity to spend some time with them and don’t be afraid to make a separate day of it with each child. Back to school can be an incredible opportunity to bond with your child, learn about apprehensions they might have and open up a dialogue that will be vitally important throughout the school year.