Detroit public schools going virtual through Jan. 14, district superintendent says in email to staff

Posted at 6:44 AM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 14:31:18-05

*Editor's Note: An earlier on-air version of this story incorrectly reported that Oakland University was going remote for the semester. They are not. They are only going remote through Jan. 17 with in-person classes resuming after Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Michigan's largest school district is going virtual for the next week and a half.

In an email to staff, Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Doctor Nikolai Vitti announced that Detroit Public Community Schools District will be going virtual through Jan. 14. The announcement, not formally out in the public yet is expected to come soon.

DPCSD is one of several local districts going virtual to start 2022. Administrators at every level of education are realizing that learning inside a building in close proximity to other people is not safe right now.

But virtual learning will cause a problem for a lot of working parents with young kids who can't be left at home to their own devices.

"We are trying as hard as we possibly can to keep that stress internal and not expose the kids to it," working father of six Ross Kinder said.

Remote learning is less than ideal for him. His kids attend school in Ann Arbor, one of the at least five districts making last-minute changes due to off-the-chart covid infection rates.

"It's a challenge," he said.

RELATED: Oakland University students will begin their winter semester online, school president says

Last-minute childcare is both expensive and hard to find. That's why Kinder will be forced to rely on his parents.

Upon return from winter break, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti announced a mass covid testing plan that would apply to staff and students.

Other school districts like Southfield are hyper-focusing on masking and social distance.

"We are now looking into the purchase of k95 masks for all of our staff and all of our students," Jennifer Green said. "In the cafeteria, we are looking at creating some additional space but there's only so much space in a school."

The shift in safety plans is meant to be short-lived but some parents aren't so sure.

"I don't think they would have done two days of planning for only three days of virtual school that just doesn't add up," one parent said.

Most districts are in a wait and assess mode while parents like Maher Salah are just trying to keep their heads above water.

"This Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I have to take off to babysit essentially my kindergartener, first grade, and third-grader to make sure they are all doing their virtual school," she said.