(WXYZ) — After a week off, students in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Ypsilanti are back in the classroom. With COVID-19 cases surging in Michigan, concerns are growing over the spread of a new COVID-19 variant.
The primary focus for parents, teachers and school leaders is to keep children healthy and safe with cases on the rise and more holidays right around the corner.
Returning from the Thanksgiving break at the Detroit Public Schools Community District, students and staff came back to facilities that got a thorough cleaning.
Stacy Jackson has 3 young children in the district, and said adding two additional days off was a good move in hopes of reducing the spread.
"The goal is to keep them safe, to bring them back to a clean and safe environment, so if it means keeping them home an extra week or two, it's about the safety of our of children and families as well," she said.
But, the district said it's too early to tell if the extra two days out of the classroom worked. The executive VP of the teachers union tells us they will monitor the outcome.
She's also not ruling out more days off being added around Christmas time based on COVID-19 numbers and the omicron variant, saying they don't want people to live in fear, but saying they need to be cautious.
With the COVID-19 vaccine available for kids 5 and older, parents are getting their children vaccinated. About 10% of Michigan children ages 5-11 are vaccinated and 61.5% of those 16 and up are fully vaccinated.
Now, Pfizer is weighing in on boosters for 16- and 17-year-olds, seeking FDA approval only. Currently, boosters are only authorized for those 18 and up.
in Ann Arbor, a week off was also given strategically to protect all students and staff, a decision they were confident in.
"We will be taking this one step at a time. We've made the commitment in our energy and focus in having schools open," Ann Arbor Superintendent Janice Swift said.
Swift also said that if COVID-19 cases do rise, they'll do their best to limit potential transition to virtual learning to only impacted areas.
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