DPSCD Continues to Support Families, Students and Staff: Frequently Asked Questions Finishing SY 19-20
For a complete list of responses to frequently asked questions, download: DPSCD FAQ COVID-19 School Year 2019-2020 Closure
Date: April 10, 2020
Families, Students and Staff,
Over the last few weeks we have navigated unprecedented times as we faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many important questions were raised, such as how to get access to food, will students continue to learn, will students graduate, will there be prom, how will we conclude this school year, and many more.
The District has compiled an extensive Frequently Asked Questions document, we have provided as many answers (10 pages) to your questions as possible. We encourage you to take time to go through the document, get familiar with what’s coming in the following weeks and look out for more information via social media and robo calls/text messages. Please share with your families. We will translate the document, in the meantime please use the web translation feature on this site.
We look forward to our distance learning opportunity and we look forward to the time when we all can gather when it’s safe to do so.
We will continue to work through this pandemic together. Please stay safe.
Nikolai P. Vitti, EdD
Detroit Public Schools Community District
FAQ Download Files:
FAQ Quick Links
Detroit Public Schools Community District COVID-19
School Year 2019-2020 Closure Frequently Asked Questions
Question and Answers following the State’s Executive Order 2020-35 to close schools.
Question: Is school officially out for the 2019-2020 school year?
Answer: Yes. To ensure the health and safety of all students and school employees during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis, Governor Whitmer announced Executive Order 2020-35 Thursday, April 2 that stated all schools in Michigan are closed for face-to-face learning for the rest of the school year. Schools will be moving to a distance learning model. The models should be put in place by April 28, according to the mandate. DPSCD will implement its plan no later than the week of April 20, 2020.
Question: Will food still be provided to students and families?
Answer: Yes. The 17 schools that are currently used for meal service will continue to offer students/families a bag of four pre-cooked breakfast meals and four pre-cooked lunches. Food distribution will continue every subsequent Monday and Thursday at the 17 schools. On Mondays, three pre-cooked breakfast meals will be provided along with three pre-cooked lunches. On Thursdays, once again, four pre-cooked breakfasts and lunches will be provided. Students/families can pick up the food at any of the 17 sites. Monday and Thursday door to door delivery will still take place for medically fragile DPSCD students. Breakfast and lunch will also be expanded at Roberto Clemente and Gompers on Thursday, April 16th to increase our food distribution sites to 19.
The printed academic packets will also be made available at these 19 locations. Additional sites have also been identified to distribute the packets as well. See below for the complete list of schools that will also offer access to the academic packets.
Question: Where can I get more information about Coronavirus/COVID-19?
Answer: For the most up-to-date information on Coronavirus/COVID-19 please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html).
Question: What health supports will be available to students and families?
Answer: Families who are in need of medical support are encouraged to contact their primary care physician or if you do not have one, please contact the Detroit Department of Health at Hotline: 313-876-4000, 24 hours a day; or by email: email@example.com.
Question: What emotional supports will be available to students and families?
Answer: The District has counselors and support staff available through a hotline, please call
1-833-466-3978 Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday, 9:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. The hotline will be active by April 20th.
Question: How will students and families receive materials for distance learning?
Answer: We will engage our students virtually and through printed academic packets that will be available at the 17 food distribution sites (plus the two additional ones, Clemente and Gompers and select schools). A list of locations is provided on the last page of this document. The District will send a robocall to families when packets are ready for pick up. Our district staff has been working hard since school was closed to develop a new learning framework that will offer learning opportunities for PreK-12 students in literacy, mathematics, science and social studies. This will include lessons for physical education and art as well. Learning will build from the curriculum our students are currently using with linked videos introducing learning concepts and assignments. The printed packets will be available the week of April 20th. We will release the exact dates for pick up.
Question: Will the teachers and staff also be required to work during this time off?
Answer: Yes. All school and District personnel will have specific roles and responsibilities to engage and support students and families during the closure through phone calls and the virtual platform of “Teams.”
Question: What is “Teams?”
Answer: Microsoft Office has a variety of applications, most people use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Microsoft Teams is an app in the Microsoft suite, that enables teachers, students and staff to talk and video chat, to share written messages (similar to text messaging), as well as documents and assignments. Teachers and students can also schedule meetings and collaborate with other students. Each DPSCD employee and student has five FREE licenses to use this app and Microsoft Office using their district email address.
Question: How do we set this up?
Answer: Teams is set up and ready to use for students. They can login through Clever with their district accounts and click the purple Teams icon. Families can also download the Teams app for Android or Apple iOS and login directly with their student’s credentials through Clever.
Question: When will these items be implemented?
Answer: Although learning and engagement will not start until the week of April 20, 2020, the new learning platform is up and available for review at https://www.detroitk12.org/Domain/5087. We will focus on student learning and their social emotional needs during these difficult times as well. All of the assignments will be printed for families and students who do not have technology and/or internet. This is the academic packet referenced in these responses.
Question: I don’t have a smartphone, tablet or computer. Can I still use Teams?
Answer: Students unable to use the Teams app on a smartphone, tablet or computer can still take advantage of support offered on Teams; every scheduled meeting includes a local (313) telephone number and pin so that students can call in and participate in the audio portions of the session.
Question: Will the District be providing laptops/tablets or internet service?
Answer: The District is actively working with the business community to implement a strategy to provide all DPSCD families with a tablet and internet access. Our goal is to execute this commitment by mid to late May.
Question: I have a computer and internet, I don’t know how to log on to Teams, where can I get help?
Question: How many hours are students expected to work each day?
Answer: Recommended student schedules will be shared with families by your child’s teacher and can also be found on the District’s website at https://www.detroitk12.org/Domain/5087. Students in different grade levels have a different number of recommended live and video engagements. On average, students may spend between 3 to 4 hours a day engaged in recommended academic activities. After reviewing your student’s recommended work, families should determine their level of participation. Our goal is to keep learning occurring at a pace individual students and/their families can support.
Question: Will the work be graded?
Answer: Teachers will be providing feedback to all work that students turn in, but students will not be given grades. Your child’s teacher may evaluate the work, such as saying “Outstanding” or giving a percentage of correct answers, but that grade will not be included in any report cards or permanent records. Any feedback given by a teacher will only be used to communicate how well the student completed the work.
Question: Do I have to be my child’s teacher during this time?
Answer: No. We understand that juggling parenting and your other responsibilities is challenging work. We know that your child will need your help and support to engage in distance learning. Your child’s teacher will be providing as much support to your child as possible along with all the learning activities your child will need. Obviously for younger students (grades PreK-3), caregivers will need to play a greater role facilitating learning at home than caregivers with older students.
Question: How can I help my child with their work?
Answer: The best way to help your child with their schoolwork is to continue to provide them a loving home, support them emotionally, and keep things as consistent as possible. Children learn best when they are free from worry and stress and have a predictable environment. Your child will learn best if they first feel safe and loved and have as close to “normal life” as possible.
You can also help your child by helping them set up a calm and quiet space where they can work without too much distraction. Setting up a routine will also help your child adjust and be ready to learn.
Create a calm environment by:
- Watching online videos with your child(ren)
- Helping to communicate with teacher
- Calling homework hotline if you need help: https://www.detroitk12.org/homeworkhotline
- Having students complete iReady and Khan Academy online lessons
Question: If I am a parent or caregiver and I am not in a position to encourage my child to keep up with the recommended learning what should I do
Answer: Do what you can to encourage constant and daily learning. We know that our families are in different positions to support learning at home, this is why we are not issuing grades. At the minimum, have students complete as many of the assignments as possible. Also, have students read daily, talk to you about what they are reading, and have them keep a journal about their thoughts on the reading. If you have access to a device and have internet access, then have them complete iReady (k-8) and Khan Academy lessons (high school).
Question: How do students interact socially?
Answer: We understand that socializing is an important part of any student’s day. Building and maintaining friendships is an essential part of childhood and especially important during difficult times such as these. Teachers will be hosting live class time with students and encouraging a continued culture of high engagement of students both with the teacher and student’s peers.
Question: I have not heard from my school or teacher, who should I call?
Answer: If you do not hear from your child’s teacher after the week of April 20th, email your child’s principal. Email addresses may be accessed at www.detroitk12.org.
Question: Will there be distance learning for students with IEPs?
Answer: Yes. Students on general standards will complete the distance learning materials given. A packet will also be available for students on special standards. Teachers will be reaching out to students with IEPs as well. We will continue to develop materials for all students with special needs as the distance learning process progresses.
Question: My students IEP was not completed, will it be completed, and how will that impact them next year?
Answer: We are continuing to move forward virtually with the IEP process. As each student’s needs and progress in the IEP process is different, please contact your school principal to better understand next steps for continuation of the evaluation process.
Question: Will students still receive academic report cards or transcripts throughout our online education?
Answer: No. Grades will not be issued during online learning; however, feedback will be given for assignments. Failing status before the shutdown can be improved by completing assignments through online/academic packet learning.
Question: Will grades be given for the assignments?
Answer: Assignments will be enrichment based with the exception of students who need to complete assignments to earn a passing grade which would give them a “pass” for the 2nd semester.
Question: Will resources be available for families who are homeless or live in shelters?
Answer: Yes, we are contacting families and we are working with community partners to provide items requested as available.
Question: Will the Homework Hotline still be a resource?
Answer: Yes, the hours are:
- Monday – Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Friday - 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Contact the Hotline at 1-833-466-3978 during operating hours.
- In accordance with MDE guidance and requirements for students with IEPs, DPSCD will have ESE (certified Special Education Teachers) available via the Homework Hotline.
Question: I received a letter that my child was at risk for being held back due to the Third Grade Read Law, will my child be held back or be promoted to fourth grade?
Answer: The Third Grade Reading Law will not be enforced this year. The letter you received is now void due to the closure of schools. Promotion decisions will be based on the academic standing of a 3rd grader based on class work. Ultimately, a decision to retain a 3rd grader will be based on the decision of a principal, teacher, and parent.
Question: Does my child still need to take M-STEP?
Answer: No, state testing was cancelled.
Question: Addressing those students that were chronically absent, what will happen to them for the following year? What is the follow up that the schools are doing with them?
Answer: All employees are committed to continuing to work during school closure, this includes attendance agents, Deans of Culture, and School Culture Facilitators. Our staff will be dedicated to following-up with families to work toward resolving any remaining issues.
Question: Can we enroll our kids in K-12 for remainder of the school year?
Answer: Yes. Students can still be enrolled in DPSCD. Traditionally, enrollment has occurred in person at your school of choice. Currently, we are moving to an online enrollment system that will launch by May 1, 2020. Please check our website detroitk12.org/enroll for the latest updates. To enroll today, please connect with an enrollment specialist during normal business hours by calling 313-873-6345.
Question: How can I enroll my child in a DPSCD School for Fall 2020-2021?
Answer: Traditionally, enrollment has occurred in person at your school of choice. Currently, we are moving to an online enrollment system that will launch by May 1, 2020. Please check our website https://detroitk12.org/enroll for the latest updates. If you have a time sensitive concern, please connect with an enrollment specialist during normal business hours by calling 313-873-6345.
Question: How will grades be handled for the 3rd and 4th quarters and the semester? What about GPAs? Report cards? Transcripts? Athletic eligibility for the Fall?
Answer: Students will receive a PASS/FAIL second semester grade. PASS/FAIL marks will be based on grades earned by students prior to the state mandated closure of all schools during the 3rd quarter (with all grades inputted before the shutdown). Students who earned a D- or higher would receive a PASS. If they had an F then they would receive a FAIL. A teacher would be given the opportunity to give a student a PASS if they had an F if they believed that a student would have earned a D- or higher with more instructional time and/or if the student completes assignments during the online learning period. Teachers would provide feedback on assignments during the online learning period but not issue grades. Report cards would not be given for the 3rd/4th quarters or the semester. Transcripts would use the PASS/FAIL code. This would allow students to gain credit for courses for promotion and/or graduation. This also allows GPAs to remain neutral as a result of the shutdown. For athletic eligibility, a student would need to receive a PASS in the majority of their courses for Fall sport participation.
Question: I am a senior, how will I know if I will graduate at the end of the year?
Answer: If you were on a path to graduate at the end of the year, and you were passing all of your 3rd quarter classes (D- or higher) then you will graduate this year. Each high school will be reaching out to their seniors to clearly communicate where seniors stand with graduation.
Question: I am a senior and I need to take additional classes to graduate. Will I have an opportunity to take these classes?
Answer: Yes. Students who need additional classes will be enrolled in up to three recovery courses. Once students earn enough credit to receive a passing grade in the class, then they will receive the credit. Summer school may also be an opportunity to make up credits (face to face and/or online) based on the health status of the crisis.
Question Will seniors still graduate in June and receive their diplomas? Will there be graduation ceremonies?
Answer: Yes. Eligible students will still graduate in June and diplomas will be received by the end of July. We are also open to a graduation ceremony once the “stay at home” order is lifted, hopefully this can happen in late June or early July. If this is possible, all graduation celebrations will be held at the high school or an alternate district high school. There should be no expectation that the ceremony will take place where it was originally scheduled to take place due to challenges with reservations and site availability.
Question: What is the status of prom?
Answer: Currently all proms are canceled. We are open to proms once the stay at home order is lifted, hopefully this can happen in late June or early July. If this is possible, all proms will be held at the high school. No prom will be held at the original planned prom location.
Question: I paid senior/eighth grade dues, will we get our money back and when?
Answer: Yes. Funds will be returned to students/parents for graduation activities once the stay at home order is lifted and school staff returns to work to process refunds. The district will cover any, and all, graduation ceremony and/or prom expenses.
Question: When will students be able to clean out their lockers and return books/instruments?
Answer: After the stay at home order has been lifted, the district and schools will create a schedule for students to pick up their belongings.
Question: How does the stay at home order and school closures impact students who were suspended or expelled during the COVID crisis? Are there any opportunities for them to resume their education in this virtual environment?
Answer: Although it will be dependent on the type and level of the discipline, most students should be in a position to resume online/academic packet instruction. Because each incident is unique, we encourage students to reach out to their school principal for specific information.
Question: Will the school year begin as scheduled for the fall of 2020 or due to this crisis will it be altered to compensate for lost instructional time that would have prepared freshman, sophomores, and juniors for their following academic year?
Answer: Guidance for the opening of school will be contingent upon the Executive Order provided by the Governor. We are hopeful that we will start the 2020-21 school year on time, after Labor Day.
Question: Has the SAT testing date for April 14, 2020 rescheduled for a later date and is DPSCD doing anything to bring ease to juniors during this time regarding testing?
Answer: The spring SAT administration has been cancelled statewide. All juniors and seniors will be able to take the SAT in the fall of 2020. Scores will be returned in time for college admissions processes.
Question: Will our trips to other countries be canceled or postponed?
Answer: All trips are canceled.
Question: Will colleges understand why my transcript is missing a semester?
Answer: We are uncertain of how colleges and universities will review the transcript in light of school closures throughout the country. However, we do believe there will be a national and collective sympathy for students and their academic status. To avoid the challenge that may be caused, a pass or fail grade will be issued for quarters 3 and 4 and credit will be awarded. The cumulative grade point average (GPA) will be the same as the end of the first semester. No grades will be issued for quarters 3 or 4. Colleges and universities typically focus on earned credits for particular courses; this will still be earned by high school students this year. GPAs will remain the same as prior to the closure.
Question: Will there be summer school?
Answer: Once the stay at home order is lifted, the District is open to providing summer school services for enrichment at an increased number of summer sites if the health condition of the city improves. The District is also committed to offering summer school to identified seniors who need 3 or fewer credits to graduate face to face and/or through online learning.
Question: Will we be able to participate in summer conditioning?
Answer: This will be determined with guidance from MHSAA after the stay at home order has been lifted. We are hopeful that this will happen by June.
Question: Are all teachers using the same online platforms or programs?
Answer: All teachers in the district will be using Microsoft Teams as their online learning platform. Teams allows teachers to communicate with students, have video or phone meetings with students, collect work, and provide feedback. Teachers may have been using other platforms, like Zoom, before now, but the entire district is transitioning to using Microsoft Teams. Teams will be the primary way students and their teacher interact.
Teachers will be leveraging the District developed resources for students which can be found for download by families on the District’s website at https://www.detroitk12.org/Domain/5087.
Teachers and students in the District also have access to several online learning tools. This includes, i-Ready, Khan Academy, myON, and Newsela. Teachers may decide to assign additional work, practice, or reading from those platforms. In addition, students can access them through Clever (clever.com/in/dpscd) and do independent practice and work.
Question: I do not have access to the internet or a telephone to access Teams. What do I do?
Answer: Per the executive order, staff can report to a school to provide support to students for online learning. The district will identify school buildings for this purpose and employees will be able to work in separate rooms to maintain social distancing. Employees unable to work due to a self or medically ordered quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 are expected to take leave through protections and relief offered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Affected staff are to contact the Department of Benefits and Employee Health Services. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 313-576-0080 to speak with the Benefits team.
Question: What is the status of teacher evaluations? Will they still count?
Answer: Teacher evaluations will not be issued this year. District and school-based administrators will receive an evaluation, but it will not include student achievement factors.
Question: Will staff be able to clean out their classrooms or collect their personal belongings?
Answer: No, not until the stay at home order has been lifted. The schedule to do this will be announced.
Question: If I am sick or the caregiver of someone who is sick, what do I do when it is time to return to daily work?
Answer: Staff members who are ill or caring for someone who is ill, will need to take leave. Eligibility for FMLA or other extended leave can be determined by the Department of Benefits and Employee Health Services. Please email email@example.com or call 313-576-0080 to speak with the Benefits team.
Question: I am not sick but unable to work with my children at home. Do I need to take leave?
Answer: Yes. Any staff member not able to work during our distance learning process will need to take leave. Staff who are unable to work will have no prejudice, judgment or jeopardy for their job because they had to take leave during online learning. Eligibility for FMLA or other extended leave can be determined by the department of Benefits and Employee Health Services. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 313-576-0080 to speak with the Benefits team.
Question: Only a few of my students are doing the work, what can I do to engage more?
Answer: The expectation is that you continue to reach out to as many of your students as possible. Teachers will not be held accountable if students and/or families are not in a position to engage consistently during online learning.
Question: As a staff member I have obtained a 2nd job during the time we are off. Am I allowed to keep this job?
Answer: Yes. If the job is worked outside of normal work hours. Per board policy, you must also disclose any additional work by completing the Employee Disclosure form located in Peoplesoft.
Question: Will all employees continue to be paid?
Answer: We are disappointed that the Legislature did not commit to maintain the same rate of funding through this fiscal year, but this is to be assumed by the Governor’s Executive Order. We will work to ensure that our employees continue to receive their full pay and expected income as long as they participate in this learning and engagement shift with our students and families.
Question: Is it the District’s expectation that all employees work during the online learning process?
Answer: Yes, if employees expect to be paid they must work throughout the rest of the calendar year. Everyone’s role will be different based on their responsibilities. Most employees will work from home; however, when this is not possible based on their job responsibilities then school buildings can be open under the Executive Order to support online learning. If this occurs then we will ensure everyone’s safety and practice best practices, such as social distancing, use of masks and gloves, and daily cleaning of work areas. Employees will be told, if and when, they may need to complete their work at school buildings. The status of working from home or a district or school building will evolve if, and when, the stay at home order is lifted.
Breakfast/Lunch and Academic Pick Up Locations (Grab-and-Go)
Distance Learning Printed Packets will be available after April 20, 2020
Monday and Thursday at these locations and the additional locations at the bottom.
- East English Village
- Fisher Upper
- Martin Luther King
- Brenda Scott
- Charles H. Wright
- Frederick Douglass Academy
- Roberto Clemente*
Western International will have Spanish Materials for students in Dual Language Programs at AOA, Maybury, and Nienas for K-5 ELA and K-8 Mathematics.
Eight (8) sites will have packets for ESE students in specific programs:
Central High School
DCP @ Northwestern