DPSCD and DFT prepare for March 8 student and staff return to in person learning
DETROIT – March 1, 2021– The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) in conjunction with the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) announced today that in person learning and teaching will return on Monday, March 8, 2021 for all schools and grade levels.
The decision to return to in person learning and teaching follows careful and consistent use of science and data by closely monitoring COVID-19 infection rates as well as the District’s and DFT’s steadfast commitment to keep our students and employees safe.
“When pandemic infection rates in the City climbed beyond the five percent mark in November, we made the proactive decision to suspend in person learning until rates declined in order to keep our students and employees as safe as possible,” said Nikolai Vitti, superintendent, DPSCD. “Now that the infection rate in the City has consistently been well below five percent, we are ready to welcome our students and teachers back who choose to resume in person learning and teaching on Monday, March 8. With infection rates low, employees having full access to the vaccine, and the confidence in knowing that we can keep students and employees safe at school since we did it in the fall, we look forward to more students and teachers returning to school for in person learning and teaching.”
To meet students and families where they are, DPSCD will continue to provide an option for online learning. Recent surveys conducted by the District of families and teachers showed a near doubling of interest in returning to in person learning and teaching among families and teachers as compared to survey results when the 20-21 school year began in September.
"The decision for Detroit Public Schools Community District to have Face to Face learning as an option was a decision made based upon the current data available," said Terrence Martin, president, Detroit Federation of Teachers. "We continue to stand by operating in the best interest of the teachers, faculty, students and their families. Teachers and families still have the option to continue virtually or participate in Face to Face. We will continue to monitor this situation and make sure the best decisions and practices are in place."
Teachers who decide to work in person for the 3rd quarter will receive $750 in hazard pay for the quarter. The District is not requiring that teachers or any staff member be vaccinated at this time and currently there is no requirement for employees who have been vaccinated to work in person. All teachers and staff reporting to a building will have received a negative COVID-19 test.
As it did for the opening of summer school in July and again at the start of the current academic year, DPSCD has extensive safety guidelines in place to protect students and employees. Safety measures include the required wearing of masks, deep daily cleaning of schools, classrooms, and buses as well as the taking of daily temperature and symptoms checks. Schools and classrooms will have an ample supply of soap and hand sanitizer. In addition, all schools have nurses and safety checks are undertaken in schools weekly for compliance. All classrooms will follow social distancing protocols as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which includes six feet social distancing, daily cleaning checks and no more than 20 students in a room. The district will also start feeder pattern voluntary COVID testing for employees, students, and families to detect outbreaks. The full reopening plan is reviewed monthly by the District’s Board.
The District will rely on school principals to engage their parents starting this week about the restart of in person learning. This will include what grade levels and subject areas will offer in person learning and the schedule the school will use. All students are encouraged to attend the school’s Learning Center if their teacher is not teaching in person. This is especially the case for students who have been struggling with online learning as defined by lower grades or attendance.
"After being in and taking the time to visit our schools over the past weeks, I am confident that now is the time to safely return our young scholars back to the classroom," said DPSCD Board of Education President Angelique Peterson-Mayberry. “We are making every effort to communicate the seriousness of adhering to the safety protocols and ensuring that they are in place and fully implemented. Most importantly, we commend our relentless teachers and all dedicated staff who are making the necessary adjustments to make this opportunity possible for our families who need and elect to have it the most.”
For more information regarding the return to in person learning, please visit detroitk12.org. Families and teachers are encouraged to contact their school.
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 more than 49,000 children. For more information, visit detroitk12.org and follow @detroitk12 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.