DPSCD Temporarily Suspends All Face-to-Face School Instruction
District Keeps Commitment to Use Data to Inform when Face to Face Learning is Safe, Will Increase Technology Support for Families and Maintain Food Distribution for Students
DETROIT – November 12, 2020 – Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) announced today the temporary suspension of all face to face in-school instruction effective Friday, November 13. All classes will be held online starting Monday, November 16 due to the rapid increase in the COVID-19 infection rate in Detroit. Face to face learning and learning centers will remain open this Thursday and Friday to provide families time to rearrange educational support for students. As a courtesy to families, learning centers can be used on Monday if adjustments to childcare could not be made over the weekend. The suspension of face to face learning will continue until January 11. If positive rates in the city improve then the District will consider reopening learning centers before that date. This decision was made in collaboration with the City’s health department.
In accordance with its reopening of schools plan, the School Board and Superintendent Nikolai Vitti indicated that if the rate of infection approached the 5–7 percent threshold, the District would consider discontinuing face to face instruction in schools. The city infection rate was nearly 5 percent last week and has been increasing this week.
“The District relied on science and the data to reopen schools for in person learning this summer and fall and relied on the same criterium to decide that it was no longer safe for our students and employees to work in an in person school environment. Without a vaccine, we will remain accountable to that 5-7 percent infection rate,” said Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, DPSCD. “I am remarkably proud of District staff, principals and school level staff who have stayed faithful to our COVID-19 safety strategies. This has allowed us to keep schools open for in person learning and access to our learning centers with a limited number of outbreaks as compared to other districts and schools throughout the state. Despite the reality of COVID-19, we have been able to keep employees and students safe and serve them directly if their families needed that level of support. As we have been doing throughout this pandemic, we will continue to adjust to serve our students and families by expanding direct technology support for families while also continuing to feed students.”
Families and students are encouraged to update their contact information at their child’s school to ensure they do not miss important announcements. Schools will remain the primary point of contact for families and students. All District schools will remain open for now to support families and students through the deployment of additional device and educational materials, technology support, phone calls, serving meals, and any medical support through nurses. As is the case currently for online students, three meals will be distributed on Mondays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and four meals on Thursdays during the same timeframe.
In addition, the District’s homework, technology, and mental health hotline will continue to support students and families. Parent Academy sessions will continue to provide training for families supporting students with online learning. Beginning December 1, the District will open 12 Technology Hubs across the city to provide families with direct, face to face technology support for online learning, device repair and replacement. The District will also begin to provide COVID-19 testing at designated locations for families, students, and staff.
The DPSCD Board, through the Chair, Iris Taylor said, “This pandemic is a challenge we are working through alongside all of you. We are listening and making the necessary adjustments to uphold our commitment to provide the best public education option for Detroit’s students and that their opportunity is equitable for every family during this pandemic and beyond.
The priority at this point is physical safety. All decisions are made with students’ best interests at the forefront and in consultation with health authorities. We ask everyone to follow the guidelines of the health authorities, wear your masks, wash your hands, stay home when you are not feeling well and continue to educate others around you.
We are acutely aware there is more work to do, we are identifying better ways to support families during these unprecedented times. Please continue to share your input. We want to specifically thank the Detroit Health Department for ongoing guidance, readiness, and support. We ask the community to continue to share your ideas, philanthropy, and volunteerism to help us stay 100 percent focused on the individual needs of each child. We are committed to supporting your students rise!”
About Detroit Public Schools Community District
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) is Michigan’s largest public education system. It is governed by a locally elected, seven-member board with Dr. Nikolai Vitti serving as superintendent. The District’s mission is to provide every student with a beneficial and rightful educational experience, preparing students to be career and college ready, and qualified to compete in the global market. The District has more than 100 schools and educates 51,000 children. For more information, visit detroitk12.org and follow @detroitk12 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.