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Detroit Public Schools Community District announces fall reopening plans

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 12:28:43-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The head of Detroit Public Schools has announced on Friday the district's plan to safely reopen.

The superintendent also held a virtual town hall at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Parents and students can expect to be part of this plan, giving input on what a safe reopening looks like.

"In districts like us, parents are not completely comfortable going back. And that's fine, they should not have to go back," said DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. "But at the same time, we have parents with great needs that do need to send their children to school."

Dr. Vitti spoke during 7 Action News' Safely Back to School virtual town hall, discussing what school may look like in the fall and the challenges district's like Detroit face when offering in-person and online learning options during the COVID-19.

"So that balance is important. But more importantly, not requiring every student to go back right now allows for the social distancing and the smaller class sizes to ensure everyone's safety," said Dr. Vitti.

The district has been met with opposition this summer from protesters trying to stop summer schools, saying it puts kids and their families at risk of spreading and catching the virus.

But Vitti says a four-phase plan is in operation for children's safety. The school district is currently in phase three.

Essential workers must practice social distancing. All essential personnel have access to COVID-19 testing and must test negative within two weeks of reporting to work.

Currently, the district is limiting in-person class size to 15 students. They're also staggering arrival and dismissal times to limit crowd and spacing out desks.

Face coverings are required on the bus.

Phase four starts in August and September when schools re-open.

"We just need more nuanced conversation and the right resources to equip districts and schools with the safety COVID protocols that are needed," said Dr. Vitti.

School is slated to September 8.

As far as after school care and extracurricular activities, districts are probably are going to restrict access to buildings due to funding cuts.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.