Beginning Monday, Detroit Public Schools Community District is welcoming students back to the classroom after two months of remote learning.
The school board voted unanimously last week to allow schools to resume face-to-face instruction, however, due to an agreement with the teacher's union, teachers still have the option to teach remotely until the end of June.
For those opting to head back to the classroom, it's been months since they've been back – before spring break. In a statement last week, Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti noted that nearly 20,000 families pushed for a face-to-face option during the latest district-wide survey.
Brandon Johnson is sending his 9-year-old back to school, face-to-face.
Prior to the return, the district is reminding parents they're not required to resume face-to-face learning, and that their child may also take advantage of the district's learning centers for supervised help if they're learning online.
Teachers can still choose to instruct remotely until June 30, with many not rushing to return.
"The schools have to remain virtual for as long as it takes to make sure this city contains the pandemic because the only safe number to reopen is zero," Benjamin Royal, a teacher, said.
The Detroit Federation of Teachers said it's concerned about class sizes and ventilation in older buildings. The executive VP said many teachers would like to have dividers in their classrooms.
Moving forward, the district will consider vaccination rates in the region, local and district-wide testing data, and infection rates in and around Detroit to determine whether or not to close schools.
Following the board's unanimous vote last week, Vitti said, "We expect more teachers to work in person with this latest announcement. Many felt more comfortable doing so if it was allowed district-wide by the district. Before the November spike when in-person learning was suspended, there were ~550 teachers working in person.”
Looking ahead to next year, Vitti said the district plans to offer a full schedule of both in-person and virtual learning if that's what families want and the legislature allows it.
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