DPSCD is Transitioning Back to Face-to-Face Instruction by Reopening Learning Centers Feb. 24

Family Survey Data Reveals Growing Demand for In-Person Learning


DETROIT – February 1, 2021 – Detroit Public Schools Community District (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.

“Through our home visits and outreach to families and students, we know too many families and students are struggling with schools closed. The challenges range from childcare for working families, access to food, and the need for direct support with learning,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of DPSCD, noting a nearly 12 percentage point decrease in attendance among students who were attending some form of in person learning after its suspension prior in mid-November.  “Our survey data among families demonstrate a near doubling of the demand for in person learning since the late fall to 40-50%. We will always use data and science to protect our students and employees in this pandemic. With the positive infection rate in the city now at a consistent 5% we can begin the process of providing families with what they need through the reopening of Learning Centers. At the same time, we will continue to respect our families’ decision to keep their students’ home for online 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.   


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 49,300 children. For more information, visit detroitk12.org and follow @detroitk12 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.