Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 28, 2020) COVID-19 Updates

Mar 28, 2020 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

This is a special edition of my newsletter with some helpful links for information about the COVID-19 virus.

Staff is working hard to direct resources and prioritize. Thank you to residents who have reached out to Ann Arbor City Council with concerns – we welcome your help in identifying problems and needs. You can email us at:

The times we are living in are stressful. At-risk populations are even more vulnerable now and our social service networks are stretched thin. We are grateful to healthcare workers and their families for their work on the “front lines” of this crisis. Thank you, also, to our public safety and essential workers, who continue to protect our community and deliver needed services.

For those of us who are lucky enough to have stability and security and those of us who are not essential workers, I thought I would share some ideas for being supportive and helpful:

Stay home as much as possible. Experts and medical professionals have explained this more eloquently than I could, but it is extremely important. Avoid contact with people outside your household. This is how we SLOW the spread of this virus and “flatten the curve.” People without symptoms are spreading this illness person-to-person; as illness spreads, we risk an explosion of need that would overwhelm our hospitals and put everyone at risk. Just STAY HOME.

Donate to a local nonprofit organization. All nonprofit organizations probably need our support right now, but at this moment, I’m most interested in those that provide food and shelter. There are too many local efforts to list here, but some organizations to consider:

If you know of families in need, the Ann Arbor Public Schools have put together an excellent list of community resources here:

Reach out to neighbors, particularly the elderly or health compromised. Offer to help your older neighbors with errands so that they can avoid trips to public places. Churches and other organizations are finding volunteers for this activity, but it may be easier for people to lean on someone they already know (i.e. you, their neighbor). Call your elderly neighbors, make sure they know to stay home, and offer to get them what they need so they can stay put. In the U.S., 8 out of 10 deaths due to COVID-19 have been among those 65 and older. More information can be found here:

Keep busy. My husband and I are involved in projects to sew and 3D print personal protective equipment for anyone who continues to work in public places or healthcare facilities. If you sew, you can get involved sewing face masks. If you have a 3D printer, you can get involved printing face shields. Information about how:

Maintain distance from others, even outdoors.Many of us have children at home and are coping with the loss of school, the need to keep kids occupied. Recently, we have seen some positive signs of spring that make outside activities more attractive. However, please continue to observe social distancing recommendations – stay six feet away from others – even in our outdoor spaces. The Ann Arbor Public Schools have been asked to communicate to their student families about the need to stay OFF of play equipment and avoid congregating in groups on school grounds. In the next few days, our City parks department will be posting official signage relaying a similar message at other public play spaces.

Eviction Protection For Tenants

Governor Whitmer issued an executive order to stop residential evictions through April 17. Legal Services of South Central Michigan has prepared a handout with more details for Washtenaw County tenants who may be at risk.

I have posted a copy of the email and PDF attachment here:

Water Quality

A few members of the community have recently asked questions about the ongoing functionality of our water treatment plant during this crisis. We are lucky to have expertise and leadership from City Administrator Tom Crawford, who has over 15 years experience in our City’s financial department and is most well informed about our available staffing and resources.

You can read explanation from Mr. Crawford here:

Local COVID-19 Information and Links

City of Ann Arbor COVID-19 Updates

Washtenaw County COVID-19 Updates

State of Michigan COVID-19 Updates

Ann Arbor Public Schools are closed at least until Monday April 13th

School district homepage:

School district COVID-19 Updates:

Ann Arbor District Library branches are closed indefinitely

Library homepage:

Library COVID-19 Updates:

University of Michigan

University homepage:

University COVID-19 Updates:

All classes will be delivered remotely in alternative formats – and not meeting in person – through April 21st, the last day of classes this semester.

All U-M events, and events organized by others on campus, are canceled until at least April 21st.

All commencement ceremonies are being postponed to a future date.

Students are encouraged to go home to their permanent residence.

Additional thoughts…

I am very fortunate that my whole family is together at home and we have no reason to go out except for essential needs (i.e. groceries when we absolutely must). Our biggest challenge is keeping busy. Among other things, my kids and I have spent a lot of time making videos. Most of our videos have been for my preschool students but we made one yesterday about ISOLATION. You can find it here:

If anyone is interested in an art project, the link below is an example of my preschool videos (feel free to send me a goose picture!)

For the last few weeks, I’ve also been working on a project that now seems much less important (in light of recent events). However, for anyone interested in understanding the “track record” of the current City Council, I invite you to visit which links to a new “A2Council” tab on my website at:

I have taken the highlights of every Council meeting since I took office and summarized the results: how issues were decided, what was at stake. As always, I link to primary sources (Legistar) and for additional context, include links to relevant MLive articles. The value of this website (I hope) is the opportunity to search by topic and understand the facts of how the current Council has voted on particular issues. I invite you to visit and give me suggestions about how to make it better!

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson