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Students describe 1st day of face-to-face learning in Detroit Public Schools Community District

Safely Back to School
Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 22:02:42-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — It is the day parents and students have been anticipating - even, in some cases, agonizing over.

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of students across Michigan experienced a first day of school like no other.

In the Detroit Public Schools Community District parents were able to choose whether to send their children to school for face-to-face learning or participate in virtual learning. About ninety percent opted for virtual learning.

How did in-person learning go for those who chose it?

7 Action News spoke to parents as they left with students after the first day at Harms Elementary School. Students said they felt safe because so much was so different.

In the morning before they could enter the building they lined up for temperature checks. Once inside they had to wear masks and practice social distancing.

“We got to keep our nose and mouth covered with our masks, like this,” said Joseph Birelong, a 3rd Grader.

“All of the desks were moved around differently. Some were in the front. Some were in the back. Some were in the middle. It looked crazy, but we did it,” said Dayla Crowe, a 5th Grader.

A Parent Action Leader at Paul Robeson Malcolm X Academy voiced one concern. While her son is learning virtually, she responds to many concerns from parents a the school.

She says there is no nurse at Paul Robeson Malcolm X to respond to any issues, such as staff or students showing symptoms.

She said during town halls they were told by the district nurses in schools would be part of the protocol.

7 Action News reached out to the district for more information about the nurse situation, but have not yet heard back as of the publishing of this article. We will continue to follow up.

Parents who chose face to face learning say they have mixed emotions. They hope they are choosing the right option for both their children’s health and education.

“Last year we had a tough time with virtual with the kids,” said Shane Crowe, the dad of a student at Harms Elementary.

“We’re still nervous. I am always going to be nervous. This is COVID,” said Joseph Birelong, of how he felt sending his son with the same name to learn face-to-face.

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.