By Sean Chase
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that all the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as mask mandates, will be lifted on Tuesday, June 22.
Cases of COVID-19 have fallen as vaccination numbers increase, allowing Whitmer to, once again, establish 100% capacity for all events, no matter if indoors or outside. The newest actions from the governor also remove the mask mandate for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.
So far, 60% of Michiganders have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which has led Michigan to experience a decline in hospitalizations, case rates and percent positivity, resulting in 24.3 cases per million and a 1.9% positivity rate over the past seven days.
“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer stated, in a press release. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving. Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule. Our top priority going forward is utilizing the federal relief funding in a smart, sustainable way as we put Michigan back to work and jumpstart our economy. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before.”
On Wednesday, June 16, Whitmer also spoke on the need to jumpstart our economy through strengthening childcare networks, while at the GRCC Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory, where she hinted at these changes, before continuing her message from earlier in the week.
As the COVID-19 restrictions, which started In March 2020 with the stay-at-home order, are lifted, GRCC must now reevaluate its social distancing and mask policies.
“GRCC’s COVID Response Team is reviewing Gov. Whitmer’s announcement and members are looking forward to more detailed guidance from state and local authorities in the days to come,” wrote Dave Murray, GRCC’s Communications Director and COVID-19 Response Team Communications Director, in an email to The Collegiate. “The Response team is planning to meet early next week to discuss the changes and prepare recommendations for college leaders.”
With these changes yet to take effect, it is too early to tell how the class offerings for GRCC’s upcoming second summer semester will change, as the school looks to fill over 1,000 seats in a variety of classes before June 29.
“The college’s second summer semester starts on June 29, and it is likely too late to make changes to class schedules or offerings,” Murray wrote. “We are excited that summer enrollment has increased considerably, and more people are able to take advantage of the educational opportunities GRCC offers.”