Detroit public school students return to classroom after months of remote learning

Posted at 5:44 AM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 12:16:39-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Thousands of Detroit public school students will return to the classroom Monday morning after months of remote learning.

The district suspended in-person learning in November due to infection rates spiking in Detroit.

Early on in the vaccine rollout, educators in Detroit were prioritized at TCF Center. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said all Detroit teachers who wanted a vaccine have received one.

Vitti said face-to-face learning is necessary to ensure all students have equal access to learning.

He said online learning is leaving some students behind.

“Some are doing well but many have been disengaged, have become chronically absent, have disconnected completely," he said.

Those who don't want to return to face-to-face learning can continue to learn online.

So what precautions is the district putting in place?

"All of our employees need to receive a negative COVID test before coming into the building," Vitti said. That also goes for teachers working remotely. Additionally, staff must complete a COVID symptom check online. Students are required to complete a verbal symptom check before class.

Temperatures will be taken at the door. Desks will be 6 feet apart, masks must be worn and there won't be more than 20 students in a classroom.

On top of that, the district is taking proactive steps on the testing front for district families.

“In partnership with Wayne State and Henry Ford Medical Center, we’re providing free voluntary COVID testing to students, to parents, and to employees," Vitti said. "And then we’ll use that data to determine if there’s an undetected outbreak at a school.”

Vitti said the district is researching the possibility of requiring testing for students, but they're not at that point yet. He guesses that may be revisited later this spring or next year when more students and teachers return.