LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Kathleen Lucas and Brittnee Senecal, parents from Ottawa and Jackson counties, are part of an online group of hundreds of parents with a simple mission: Slow the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

“We want all kids to be safe in school, we want to protect our communities. It’s much farther than just our own families. It reaches to other students, higher risk students, teachers, higher risk staff,” Lucas said.

The group, the Michigan Parent Alliance for Safe Schools, is asking state and medical leaders to help create unified safety guidelines for all Michigan schools.

“The same thing going on county to county, school to school because it’s kind of all over the place and it’s causing a lot of confusion for parents and teachers,” Senecal said.

They’re calling for things like masks to be worn inside all schools, specific social distancing guidelines and air quality programs. So far, their online petition has more than 8,000 signatures.

“We need mitigation, or we are all going to be forced to virtual and we don’t want to see that. We don’t need more loss of learning,” Lucas said.

Several West Michigan schools have recently had to call off classes or go remote due to sickness. Wayland Union High School on Monday announced it would remain virtual through Tuesday because so many students and staff were out. The plan was to return in person Wednesday.

Lucas also says the fight to keep kids safe at school recently hit close to home.

“My second grader, who is 7 and a half, two days was infected by her desk mate who was not wearing a mask,” Lucas said.

Henry Ford Health System infectious disease specialist Dr. Vivek Kak said a mask mandate helped his daughter’s school to stay oppen.

“That actually has helped quite a bit because despite numerous exposures, the fact that most of the kids have been masked has led to school not being interrupted once it has started,” Kak said.

Senecal and Lucas say they hope the Michigan Parent Alliance for Safe Schools serves as a place for moms and dads to come together.

“We advocate for them. We give them a voice and it’s really important right now for people to just be unified and to feel like they are not alone,” Senecal said.

“There are thousands of us just in the state of Michigan, so many of us who are feeling these feelings and we are here to listen and to hopefully make a difference in some way,” Lucas said.