EAST LANSING — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Paula Herbart marking the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Michigan:
“As we mark this solemn anniversary, educators across Michigan first and foremost want to thank the medical professionals, first responders, scientists, public health officials and every other worker who has put themselves on the front lines to keep us healthy and safe from this virus. While too many lives have been cut short by COVID-19, we’ve all been aided and touched by the dedicated efforts of so many individuals.
“We are also thankful for the strength and leadership of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer through this crisis. As she promised – from campaign trail to inauguration to office – she has worked as a partner with school employees to meet the needs of Michigan students, and that has continued with her efforts to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. In particular, we appreciate her prioritizing frontline PreK-12 teachers and support staff to receive the COVID vaccine – MEA survey data has shown Michigan educators far outpacing the national vaccination rate for school employees, which is a direct result of her leadership. This has been an essential step in planning a safe return to in-person learning.
“Finally, we owe our thanks to Michigan’s parents and families, who are always essential partners in the effort to educate our students but who have gone to great lengths this past year. We have bonded as a team, working through the challenges, the heartbreaks, the frustration and the successes of the many learning models this unprecedented year has brought. As a team, educators and families need to stick together to ensure students are safe, healthy and have equal opportunities to succeed as we enter a world of post-COVID learning.”
NOTE: For more on the teamwork needed between educators and families to address the challenges brought by the pandemic, read President Herbart’s “Labor Voices” column in today’s Detroit News.