DETROIT, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – A draft plan to reopen schools for the Detroit Public Schools Community District has been released.
This week DPSCD will be hosting Zoom sessions to gain feedback on the draft reopening of schools plan.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, students in Detroit and across the state have been out of school buildings and learning online at home. Plans are beginning to be pitched for the 2020-21 school year without knowing if the pandemic will wind down or flare up.
The plan limits 20 students in one classroom at a time and repurposing auditoriums and cafeterias to classrooms that would allow for maximum social distancing. High school students would also attend in-person class on alternating weeks.
Here’s what the draft plan also calls for:
- daily screenings of students for COVID-19 symptoms
- testing for all staff from within two weeks of report to work
- shortened school day
- six hours instead of seven to 7.5 hours
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said Monday starting Sept. 8 in-person instruction will be offered in schools, but day-to-day operations, schedules and classroom spaces will all look different according to the Detroit News.
Students in all grades would be required to wear a mask and according to Vitti, the district plans to purchase and distribute personal protective equipment for students and staff. The Detroit News says the district is is considering the use of disposable and reusable masks and reusable face guards.
As far as extracurricular activities and athletics, small group programming will be allowable but safety precautions will be taken to ensure students and staff are safe.
According to the plan, small group extracurricular programming can take place where social distancing is possible. This includes summer enrichment activities including academics, arts, and athletics. For athletics, meetings/workouts should be conducted at safe distances, and outdoors, where possible.
Students and staff will be expected to wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible.
Specifically, this means:
- Groups of 10 or less indoors
- Coaches and sponsors will need to be Covid-19 tested before supervising activities
- Daily forehead temperature checks and symptom assessments must be taken for adults and students
- Any confirmed cases during activities must be reported to all participants to encourage Covid-19 testing and self-quarantine, as necessary
The plan has four phases:
- Phase 1: (present day)
- Schools are closed bas on the Governor’s executive order.
- Phase 2: (mid-June to July)
- It is expected that the number of positive cases in Detroit has declined sharply (likely during the month of June) and the Michigan “Safe Start Plan” is in the “Improving” phase and moving into the “Containing” phase as cases reach low absolute rates. This allows for the reopening of some additional lower-risk businesses with strict safety and mitigation measures in place. Small gatherings are permissible, with the allowable size of those gatherings growing as cases maintain low levels.
- As such, the District will reopen for in-person work, with telecommuting available to staff to ensure that work can be conducted safely, and in small groups. Covid-19 testing will be required before coming to work and all employees will be required to undergo training on Covid-19 risk factors, mitigation measures, and District-specific protocols for how to stay safe
- Phase 3: (July and August)
- It is expected that the number of positive cases in Detroit is at an absolute low level and the Michigan “Safe Start Plan” is in the “Improving” phase and moving into the “Containing” phase as cases reach low absolute rates. This allows for the reopening of some additional lower-risk businesses with strict safety and mitigation measures in place. Small gatherings are permissible, with the allowable size of those gatherings growing as cases remain low overall.
- The District will collaborate with local entities to share information about available Covid-19 testing to all staff and students as they plan to return to physical work locations. In alignment with the earlier congressional mandate, Covid-19 tests are free to individuals and no copay or out-of-pocket costs should be collected. Members of the DPSCD community will be provided with locations, dates, and times where they can access a test. Testing will be a pre-requisite for returning to the workplace and a requirement for anyone who has had a confirmed case.
- Phase 4: (August and September)
- In Phase 4, it is expected that the number of positive cases in Detroit is at an absolute low level and the Michigan “Safe Start Plan” is in the “Containing” phase. This means both K-12 and higher education live instruction should resume, increased size gatherings are permissible, most businesses are reopened with strict mitigation measures and any outbreaks of Covid-19 can be quickly contained. While we expect the risk of Covid-19 to be significantly lessened by Labor Day, we will remain vigilant as a District and ensure strict mitigation procedures are practices in our schools and offices to limit any fall spikes in cases and allow for the continued operations of the District.
- The District’s plan is to open schools, as expected, with live instruction occurring on Tuesday, September 8. We also know, however, that our day-to-day operations in schools and offices will not look the same as any prior year. Our fall reopening is focused on three possible scenarios for schools, each of which is outlined below. In all scenarios, it is generally understood that some families may want to make more use of virtual instruction while others may want students to attend school in-person. Each scenario is designed to allow for both possibilities, with an emphasis on making in-person instruction as safe as possible for students and staff. However, for a hybrid approach, the state will need to provide districts flexibility regarding attendance and FTE if families prefer learning from home.
For more information or to download the district’s reopening plan, visit here.