The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Tuesday, March 17 updates

Grand Rapids school districts begin feeding plans for out-of-school students, City of Grand Rapids urges community to minimize government building visits, and more statements from local organizations issued March 16-17, 2020.
Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids, MI

Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids, MI /John Rothwell

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to more deeply permeate local life, new statements by various Grand Rapids organizations have been released to update residents on where their services and resources stand. Shared in this Tuesday, March 17, 2020 update are statements from Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), Kent ISD, the City of Grand Rapids, the 17th Circuit Court, Spectrum Health, and The Rapid transit service.

Both GRPS and Kent ISD have implemented feeding plans for students and youth unable to attend school because of the continuing spread of COVID-19. Starting Tuesday, March 17, GRPS will have a total of eight grab and go meal sites. These sites will provide a breakfast and lunch combo and are available for all students 18 years of age and younger. This includes students with disabilities ages 18-26 with an active individual education program (IEP). The meals are not limited to GRPS students. More information is available in their press release.

Kent ISD school districts will likewise be providing both breakfast and lunch foods and many are packaging multiple meals to pick up. Some districts are also providing delivery or neighborhood drop-off. Families are invited to pick up meals for any child ages 18 and under, and students with disabilities ages 18-26 with an active IEP. More information is available on Kent ISD’s website.

Speaking on behalf of the City of Grand Rapids, City Manager Mark Washington is urging community members to minimize visits to City Hall and all other City buildings until Sunday, April 5 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s important we follow recommendations by our health leaders and practice social distancing,” Washington said. More info is available about this on the city’s website, with additional temporary service changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 also available.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the 17th Circuit Court is taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by eliminating the need for face-to-face interaction as much as possible. For non-essential hearings, the court may issue an order based on the pleadings — no oral argument —, adjourn the hearing, or hold the hearing over the phone. For essential hearings, the court may hold the hearing through a video feed or over the phone. For jury trials, the court may postpone the jury trial indefinitely. More information is available on the court’s website.

Also effective Tuesday, March 17, Spectrum Health is cancelling all appointments, surgeries, and procedures that are not urgent or emergency-related for the next two weeks. Patients with scheduled non-urgent appointments, procedures, or surgeries during this time will be contacted by their provider(s) regarding next steps. If patients have questions, Spectrum Health encourages them to call their physician’s office. More information is available on Spectrum Health’s website.

Additionally, local transit service The Rapid has issued a statement on their continued measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Such measures include enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures in place on all of The Rapid's vehicle and facilities, nightly steam cleaning of vehicles with an approved antiseptic agent on all surfaces throghought the entire vehicle interior, a disinfectant applied to the interior of the bus, and more. More information is available on The Rapid's website.

The Rapidian will continue to report on all major local developments related to the spread of COVID-19 and the community's prevention and response methods. Local residents are encouraged at this time to share their own stories and perspectives related to the COVID-19 situation on The Rapidian's platform.

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