In March 2020, the pandemic hit Michigan, bringing upheaval to schools. When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed schools buildings that month due to the climbing number of COVID-19 cases, districts across the state scrambled to craft a plan to meet students’ needs virtually. Over the last year, the pandemic has highlighted the inequities the struggling, underfunded Partnership schools face while they work to make ends meet during this current school year.

In Michigan, the seven Democrats in the U.S. House voted for and all seven Republicans voted against President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package early Saturday, in a rush to both boost COVID-19 vaccine funding and get legislation to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire in mid-March. The package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, passed 219-212.

Unconscious bias in medical care and a history of experimentation and exploitation of Blacks for medical knowledge has left many in the Black community questioning everything about the vaccines — from the racial demographics of who has been inoculated already, to whether people of color were studied in the safety and efficacy trials and whether the vaccines even work. State officials hope to ease those concerns and erase racial disparities in COVID vaccination rates.

The state’s decision in November to temporarily ban indoor dining, prohibit in-person classes at high schools and colleges, and implement a variety of other social distancing measures may have saved about 2,800 lives and prevented more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases, University of Michigan School of Public Health researchers announced Thursday.