A Note on COVID-19, UPDATED: April 6, 2020

March 13, 2020 | 826 Blog Post

Friday, March 13 update on covid-19 at 826michigan


FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020


Dear 826michigan Friends, 

One day makes quite a difference. Since we first communicated yesterday, COVID-19 has escalated in our state and thus our need to take action for the health and safety of our entire 826michigan community. At our last check, there are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our state, and at least 2 of those cases are in Washtenaw County. Some of the other confirmed cases are in the counties directly surrounding Detroit. Following the recommendations of public health officials and expert medical professionals, Governor Whitmer has instructed that all K-12 schools—public, private, and boarding—be closed through April 5 to mitigate spread of the virus.

With the health and safety of our entire 826michigan community in mind, we are making the difficult decision to align with this state mandate and close all 826michigan buildings and cancel all in-person 826michigan programming to the public, effective immediately, now through April 5. We will continue to closely monitor changes and updates from our public health officials and other experts in this matter to guide our decision to reopen on April 6. Please review your emails, check our website, and monitor our social media pages for the latest 826michigan news.

Please also be assured that we do not take this decision lightly. We recognize the disruption and difficulty our program cancellations will cause. We also recognize that this news triggers an immediate need for emergency supplies of food and other daily necessities for many in our community. With that in mind, we are actively gathering a list of resources where families may find food and learning plans during this time we are physically apart. We will send that list sometime very soon.

Finally, we are also imagining how we can continue to inspire students to write, even virtually, during this time. As we consider what our temporary future may be, we encourage families to explore 826 Digital for ways to engage right now.

Recommendations informing our decision to temporarily suspend our in-person programs can be found here:

As always, we welcome ideas on how to best support one another as we move forward. Please do not hesitate to email info@826michigan.org if you have something to share that may benefit a few or all of our students and their families.

Take care and be well, Friends. We send much robot love and elbow bumps in this ever-evolving and challenging time.

In community,

Naimah Wade




Hello, Friends.

How are you? If the answer is, “terribly, thanks for asking”, you’re not alone. (Shout out to Nora McInerny; check out the podcast that keeps it all the way real, if you’re into those.)

Our lives are so very different than they were nearly four weeks ago when we temporarily closed our centers for the health and safety of the entire 826michigan community. Like so many of you, we were optimistic that we’d be back together this very week, excitedly gathering at tutoring tables with our after-school students and earnestly planning the best Young Authors Book Project Release Party EVER. We’re entering our fifteenth year of programming and had so many incredibly cool events planned to share with you. We wanted you to meet our students and pose alongside them in pictures—with their beautiful anthology held proudly in your hands.

Our students are still writing and so are we—but with a cluster of emotions. 826michigan is a grassroots writing and tutoring center that thrives off of our collective power. And for the past few weeks, we’ve had to take a long, deep breath to regroup because our collective has been shaken up by the pandemic that’s impacting every person on the globe.

We are grieving the job separations our organization experienced as a result of this virus. We are grieving the loss of our family and friends who succumbed to this virus. We are grieving every moment we do not get to spend in communion with our students. It is a tough time.

And yet, we have not lost hope. In this season that we are apart, there is more time to closely examine the breadth of writing our students continue to share. They leave us light, inspiration, and just plain joy at every turn. You’re still struggling with social distancing? YHS student Kesjana Muska talks about solitude by the water. “You can feel the peace because, if you close your eyes, all you hear is the sound of the lake and the winds that fly on your face . . . it’s what everyone would want for some minutes.”

Need something to lift your spirits after your solo walk? Take the advice of our student Wendy Canjura and listen to some Salvadorian music. It sure makes her feel happy.

Need motivation to just keep going in spite of all that’s happening around us? Brianna St. Aimie tells us, “Home is where the rain falls and the rainbow comes out.”

Our rainbow is on the way, Friends. We have to know it.

In the spirit of surety of the collective joy we will get to share together sooner than later, we are moving forward with some very cool and important works.
  • Secondly, but not less important: Your students can write with us! Our programs team is now fully digital! Dr. Blotch created a writing challenge for nearly all ages. Also, we expect to share an exciting online celebration honoring the phenomenal work of our 2020 Ypsilanti High School Young Authors later this spring. If you only read our emails, now is the time to also start following us on social media. We’re on Facebook and Twitter @826michigan. Find us on Instagram @onwardrobots.
  • Finally, for now: We want you to know how grateful we are for you. Thank you for being our friends.

Onward, robots!

Courtney and Naimah and Ken and Catherine and Frances and Megan and David and Christina


Related Posts