DPSCD is Reopening Learning Centers Feb. 24
DPSCD will begin transitioning back to in person learning by reopening its Learning Centers at all schools and grade levels on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. This announcement is predicated on the city’s positive infection rate remaining at the current 5% level or below. The reopening of Learning Centers will provide direct support to DPSCD families who need schools to be open in some capacity so their children can benefit from supervised in person support. Students can attend school daily, eat breakfast and lunch, login to online learning instruction, and receive direct support from school personnel. The Learning Centers will be supported by district and school-based administrators, clerical staff, paraeducators, educational aides, culture facilitators, and substitute teachers. This was the same operational model used by the District before positive rates increased in mid-November and the suspension of in person learning.
The District continues to be thoughtful and consistent with the use of data to determine when, and if, in person learning is safe for students and employees. Over the past two weeks, the seven-day positive rate has remained near five percent, with daily rates falling below 5%. The District is committed to resuming in person learning with teachers once the city’s positive infection rate is solidly below 5%. At that time, based on the 2020-21 agreement with the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the District, teachers will have the option to return to the classroom. The number of teachers willing to return to the classroom has increased since last fall. When returning to the classroom, teachers receive $750 per quarter (nine weeks) in hazard pay.
As the District implemented at the beginning of the school year, employees will be required to retest for COVID before returning to work. This ensures that the District is resuming in person work with as much of a COVID-free environment as possible. Employees will be able to test where they feel most comfortable over a three-week window, including over mid-winter break (the week of February 15-19). DPSCD will provide free testing at schools through Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State University at no cost to employees.
After the Learning Centers are reopened, the District will continue to monitor the city’s infection rate and wait until it falls solidly and consistently below the 5 percent threshold to resume in person learning. The hope is that this can begin by the early to mid-March. This will provide enough time for all returning teachers to be retested whether they received the vaccine or not. The District is not mandating the vaccine by employees but nearly 60% have indicated that they are planning to take the vaccine. Hundreds of employees have already taken the first vaccine shot through the City’s Health Department. The District will continue to operate its Technology Hubs throughout the city to provide families with direct support to repair or replace broken devices or problem solve through technology issues related to online learning.