(CBS DETROIT) – Members from the Detroit Public Schools Community District and The Council of Baptist Pastors say they need teachers and students back in class this fall.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says student engagement is down and so are scores in reading, math and writing following a year of virtual learning in the pandemic.

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Faith-based leaders joined district officials and the Detroit Federation of Teachers at Liberty Temple Baptist Church in Detroit to call on the community to get vaccinated so students can return to school safely.

Dr. Vitti says more families need to be relieved from the burden of monitoring online classes because data shows it’s affecting overall performance.

“I think the plan for the fall is to be able to look at every individual child and understand where is that child as far as literacy is concerned. Where are they in math and where are they in social emotion and create a plan with that child, with the family to know this is where the child is and what are our goals throughout this year from an academic point-of-view and a social-emotional point-of-view,” said Vitti.

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“Those children who have deficiencies, we need you back. We want to see our students rise,” said DPSCD Board Member Bishop Corletta Vaughn.

DPSCD officials say in-person learning is still an option for both students and teachers this fall.

Temperature checks, COVID tests, health surveys and deep cleaning are also some of the safety measures taken up by the district.

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