DPSCD parents weigh-in on face-to-face vs. online learning choices

Posted at 12:23 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 12:23:56-04

(WXYZ) — DPSCD parents and staff gathered outside Golightly Educational Center in Detroit Friday morning to discuss parents' choices for the fall, and why they're opting for either in-person or online learning.

This comes as the district's superintendent, Dr. Nikolai Vitti, held the first of a series of tele-town halls to explain the district's phased re-opening plan, which the Board of Education approved July 14.

At this point, the district will offer both in-person and virtual learning for the fall. District officials are urging parents to complete this online survey indicating their preference by Aug. 4. The hard deadline to complete the survey is Aug. 21.

DPSCD is already offering face-to-face summer school, which protesters have tried to stop by blocking the west side bus terminal; they argue allowing kids to return in-person is putting them at risk.

Several DPSCD parents weighed in on their choices Friday, including Tamara Williams, who is sending her oldest child back for face-to-face instruction in high school, but keeping her younger children at home to learn virtually.

“They want those hugs, they want those I miss yous, they’re going to want that because they haven't been in school since March," Williams said of her younger kids, who she feels aren't old enough to practice proper social distancing on their own.

Debrina McNeal's daughter, a middle schooler at Brenda Scott, requires hands-on attention and has special learning needs, ones she feels just can't be met though a screen.

“She has an IEP in order so I don’t feel that she would get the services that she needs in order for her to be in an online school," McNeal said.

Per the district's re-opening plan, several measures will be put in place to ensure safety within DPSCD buildings including:

-Employee training
-Employee COVID-19 testing
-Daily temperature checks for students and staff
-Smaller class sizes to ensure social distancing
-Limited movement in the building
-School meals served in the classroom
-Daily cleaning of classrooms and buildings
-Access to masks and gloves
-Hand sanitizer stations
-Limited access to schools from the public
-A dedicated isolation area for anyone who feels sick

For families who are opting for the virtual learning option, DPSCD is providing wireless tablets and six months of free internet. After that, the district is working with the City of Detroit and non-profit Human IT to help low income families receive low cost, subsidized internet.