What teachers want students and parents to know during the COVID-19 school shutdown

By: - March 21, 2020 10:03 am

Susan J. Demas graphic

All public, private and boarding schools shut down Monday and will remain closed until April 5 in Michigan due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Overwhelmingly, teachers have told the Advance that the school closures have saddened them, even though they understand the necessity during a health crisis. They miss their students and wished they had a happier “see you later.”

So to that end, the Advance compiled messages from some teachers and community members all across the state:

Craig Christensen, eighth grade English teacher at Whitehall Middle School (Whitehall): We miss you and we can’t wait to see you again. We hope that everybody in your world is healthy. And we will get through this. We will be better and more rounded people when we come out the other side. But mostly we want you to know that all of your teachers all around the state, and especially in Whitehall, miss you like crazy. We want you to be good, and by good, I mean OK.

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Katie Johnson, fourth grade long-term substitute at Sandy Hill Elementary (Jenison) & after-school activity leader at Harrison Park Elementary/Middle School (Grand Rapids): I miss you all so very much. I miss our daily laughs and all of the fun we were having! I just want you all to know that I have some fun, new things planned for when we all get back. I hope you are all having some fun at home while also letting your creativity run wild! We are all in this together, and I can’t wait until we get to be together again!

Kim Huls, fourth grade teacher at North Holland Elementary (Holland): I miss my students terribly. I want them to remember to keep reading and enjoy time with their family. I can’t wait to see them again and I hope it’s sooner rather than later!

Mia Rodgers, preschool teacher at Northville Presbyterian Preschool (Northville): I miss you very much. We’re going to do everything we can to try and get through the end of the school year. We want to keep in touch with you and make sure they know that our families know we are  trying to make things as normal as possible for them.

Alyssa Williams, third grade teacher at Brookside Elementary (Grand Rapids): Dear kiddos, Ms. Williams misses your hugs and the light you bring into the classroom everyday with your smiles and silliness. This time is hard on all of us, but I can’t wait to see your smiling faces.

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Theresa Mayes, seventh grade teacher at Chippewa Middle School (Okemos): Your teachers miss you and wish you the best! Stay healthy and happy reading!

Devin Schwiegert, seventh grade teacher and coach at Manistee Middle/High School (Manistee): I miss you guys like crazy! I hope you’re finding some good, fun, positive things to do. I’m very much looking forward to seeing all of you again – hopefully soon! This too shall pass. Love you all!

Jill Fyke, seventh/eighth grade English teacher at Mill Creek Middle School (Dexter): I miss you. I miss your voices. I miss your poetry and personality portraits. I miss your silliness and wisdom. I hope you are able to escape into a good book, or write in your journal if you’re scared. I wish you patience with yourself and others in this crazy time. I’m only an email away if you need me, and I cannot wait to see you again.” 

Ariel Davids, English teacher at Portland High School (Portland): I want to let my students know that I miss them so much! I hope you’re enjoying your time at home but also taking care of yourselves. I know that times are tough, and that we don’t know what’s going to happen, but when it comes down to it, we’re in it together. Love you guys! Can’t wait to see your smiling faces again!

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.