The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Friday, April 17 updates

Gov. Whitmer and Headspace launch “Stay Home, Stay MIndful” website offering Michiganders free mental health resources, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs offers emergency relief funds to Michigan nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, and more statements issued April 17, 2020.
GVSU won't require SAT and ACT tests for students applying for the fall 2021 entering class, responding to COVID-19 pandemic.

GVSU won't require SAT and ACT tests for students applying for the fall 2021 entering class, responding to COVID-19 pandemic. /Experience Grand Rapids

Kent County enters the weekend with 420 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20 related deaths. Statewide, there are 30,023 confirmed cases and 2,227 related deaths. These numbers, reported by the State of Michigan, are as of today, April 17.

Shared in this Friday, April 17, update are continued COVID-19 responses relevant to local life from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Kent County Health Department, and Grand Valley State University.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Headspace, and the MDHHS launch “Stay Home, Stay MIndful” website offering free mental health resources

Gov. Whitmer announced today, April 17, the launch of the “Stay Home, Stay MIndful” website – – to offer Michiganders free mental health resources during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The website was created in partnership with Headspace, a healthcare company specializing in mindfulness and meditation, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Starting today, Michiganders can access the website’s specially-curated collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, at-home workouts that guide residents through mindful exercises, and sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety.

In a statement released by Whitmer’s Office about the “Stay Home, Stay MIndful” website, it noted that, “in 25 published studies in some of the leading mindfulness peer-reviewed journals, Headspace has been shown to have favorable outcomes of interventions including reduced stress, increased compassion, and decreased aggression.”

Headspace has also worked to make its digital mental health tools more accessible to those who need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic from healthcare providers, educators, caregivers, businesses, and people around the world,” Whitmer’s Office continued.

More information about the partnership between Whitmer, Headspace, and the MDHHS is available on Whitmer’s Office’s website.


Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs offers emergency relief funds to Michigan nonprofit arts and cultural organizations

Emergency relief funds are now available for Michigan nonprofit arts and cultural organizations through the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), the MCACA announced today, April 17.

The funds’ availability come in response to the continuing financial challenges many arts and cultural organizations are experencing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many of our state’s arts and culture organizations are faced with serious economic impacts, including challenges with cash flow and resources to support their workforce,” said MCACA Director Alison Watson. “The Emergency Relief Funds program will provide assistance to these organizations that add so much value to Michigan’s economy and bolster the creative life of our communities.”

MCACA, through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through the CARES Act, will distribute a total of $502,400 in one-time grants to eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations – ensuring broad geographic distribution across Michigan. The maximum request for funding is $5,000.

The funds can be used for full or partial salary support for one or more employees, fees for artists and/or contractual personnel, and facility costs, such as rent and utilities.

More information about the emergency relief funds is available on the MCACA’s website.


Kent County Health Department extends restaurant licensing fee deadline

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is extending the deadline for restaurants to pay their annual food service licensing fees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the KCHD announced today, April 17.

The deadline for the fees was originally April 30, 2020, and has been extended to August 31, 2020. Late fees will be assessed on or after September 1, 2020.

We know restaurants are doing everything they can to meet the current challenges while continuing to comply with the stay-at-home executive order,” KCHD Director Adam London said. “We hope to offer some relief to these establishments by extending the food service fee deadline.”

While the fee deadline is being extended, all restaurants are required to submit a renewal application by April 30, 2020. The application will ensure establishments remain licensed during the 2020-2021 operating period.

Restaurant owners with questions about their licensing fees may contact the KCHD’s Environmental Health Division at 616-632-6900 or [email protected].


Grand Valley State University goes “test-optional” for fall 2021 applications

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) will go “test-optional” for students applying for the fall 2021 entering class, GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella announced today, April 17, in an effort to reduce COVID-19-related hardship and barriers for prospective students.

Mantella said this option means SAT and ACT standardized tests are not required for students applying to enter in fall 2021.

"During this time of uncertainty, we want to remove stress and respond to the needs of prospective students," Mantella said. "We want to take worry off the table."

Going test-optional for the GMAT and GRE for GVSU’s graduate program is also being explored by GVSU, as it works to be as flexible as possible for all students during the COVID-19 pandemic and into its aftermath.

More information about changes to GVSU’s undergraduate admissions process during this time is available on the Admissions page on its website.


Sharing your stories

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.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.