Detroit Public School Community District leaders worked to get bottled water stocked before school starts Tuesday.
The school district says tests found lead or copper in the water at numerous schools.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti ordered new testing of all schools in the spring. Over the summer results came in for 24 schools. While some schools had clean water, tests found issues with copper or lead contamination at 16 of those schools.
Vitti says, as further analysis is done to make sure water at all schools is safe, out of an abundance of caution, the district will provide bottled water for all teachers and staff at every building.
“Explain exactly what the situation is, what the steps are to improve it and how long that is going to take,” said Terrence Martin, executive vice president of Detroit Federation of Teachers, of what teachers want the district to do next.
Martin said teachers are pleased to see the district shut down water consumption at every school for now but at the same time are frustrated to be at this point. The union voiced teacher concerns about the water when the district was under state control.
“We have had teachers who have complained of health issues over the years and they believed it could be attributed to the water they’re consuming,” Martin said.
A district spokesperson tells WXYZ a letter will go home with students on the first day of school laying out the plan to address water issues. The district is planning to have community meetings to address concerns.
District leaders are hoping that by providing bottled water they can make sure teachers and students for now don’t have to worry about the situation and instead can focus on learning.