Detroit schools halt face-to-face learning because of COVID-19

©Detroit Free Press

Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press/TNS

DETROIT — Detroit Public Schools are halting in-person learning through Jan. 11, as COVID-19 continues to spread in the community.

“All classes will be held online starting Monday, November 16 due to the rapid increase in the COVID-19 infection rate in Detroit,” the district said in an announcement Thursday. “Face-to-face learning and learning centers will remain open this Thursday and Friday to provide families time to rearrange educational support for students.”

Detroit was one of many districts that chose to return students to classrooms this fall while many other districts adopted an online-only approach. Critics of Detroit’s decision, including a group within the Detroit Federation of Teachers, have argued that it was unsafe to return.

“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,’ superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in a statement. “Without a vaccine, we will remain accountable to that 5-7% infection rate.”

Vitti thanked staffers for their work in providing face-to-face learning as long as they were able.

“I am remarkably proud of District staff, principals and school level staff who have stayed faithful to our COVID-19 safety strategies,” Vitti said. “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.”

Other districts that have reverted to online learning in recent days include Grosse Pointe, Holly, Huron Valley, Pontiac, Rochester and Utica.

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©2020 Detroit Free Press