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Special Announcement from Dr. Vitti Concerning COVID-19 - December Online Learning Days

NOVEMBER 17, 2021 

After listening and reflecting on the concerns of school-based leaders, teachers, support staff, students, and families regarding the need for mental health relief, rising COVID cases, and time to more thoroughly clean schools; and reviewing strategies to address these concerns with the School Board, I have decided to shift districtwide instruction on December 3rd, December 10th, and December 17th (all Fridays) to online learning. We will follow the regular school schedule and time on these online learning days.  

Please note that we must all work hard to ensure that we meet or exceed 75% districtwide student attendance on these three days or districtwide online learning days will not be a viable option for us the rest of the school year. As a reminder, the state requires 180 days of instruction at 75% districtwide attendance or the district pays a funding penalty. We have met this districtwide threshold each school day since the first day of school in September.  

On these three days of online learning, all school-based and central office staff, except those whose work cannot be completed from home, will work remotely on the designated days. Administrators will have the discretion to require specific staff to work at their regular work location if performance concerns exist with remote work or special assignments must be completed at the regular work location. The following personnel will report to their normal work site on these three days:   

  • All Public Safety Personnel 
  • Facility Staff 
  • School Nutrition Staff 
  • Van Drivers  
  • Warehouse Staff 
  • One Administrator/Designee (each school and Central Office Department) 

The district will provide Grab-and-Go breakfast and lunch meals on Thursday, December 2nd, 9th, and 16th during dismissal at their school before each online learning day. In addition, students will use their Connected Future devices, a laptop loaner, or personal cell phone to join their classes via Teams. If a student received a Connected Futures and/or Loaner device during a previous school year and did not return the equipment to the school, they will use this device for the online learning days. If a student is new to the district, has lost or broken their device, or does not have access to their own computer or the internet, the student’s school will communicate options for checking out a technology loaner for online learning days. This will require a parent or guardian’s signature. Please keep in mind that the loaner program is for online learning days only.  Each student is expected to check the laptop out from school each Thursday before the online learning day and return the device to the school the next school day. The district will provide internet access at no cost to students.

School partners supporting students during the school day may continue doing so on these online learning days. All after-school programming will be canceled but all sporting events will continue as scheduled on these days.  

Finally, thank you for your ongoing commitment to our students and families. Returning to in person learning has not been easy but it has been in the best interest of students. With the recent vaccine approval for children ages 5 to 11, the district will move forward with greater consideration of vaccine requirements for employees and students. Inevitably, this is the best way to ensure everyone’s safety and the need to create reliable learning schedules and patterns for students despite the ongoing and forever presence of COVID.

 Sincerely,

 Nikolai P. Vitti, Ed.D

Superintendent of Schools

Detroit Public Schools Community District