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Detroit public schools returning to in-person classes next week

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest public school district will be re-opening to in-person instruction next week.

Officials with Detroit Public Schools Community District say face-to-face instruction will resume next Monday, March 8. The district suspended in-person classes in November, as COVID-19 case rates in the city climbed in November.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says with infection rates in the city down and teachers having access to coronavirus vaccines, the district can again provide an in-person learning option. 

Superintendent Vitti says about 40% of families in the district say they want their children back in the classroom.

“I’m optimistic and hopeful that more students will start coming back to school,” says Vitti. “And that more teachers will come back to school as well to teach in person.”

Vitti says the mix of in-person and virtual instruction will vary depending on each school in the district.

Detroit school officials were joined in announcing the resumption of face-to-face instruction with the district’s teachers' union.

"Teachers and families still have the option to continue virtually or participate in face to face,” says Terrence Martin, president, Detroit Federation of Teachers. “We will continue to monitor this situation and make sure the best decisions and practices are in place." 

Superintendent Vitti hopes to offer expanded summer school this year, but he says that may depend on the state Legislature freeing up more federal COVID-19 funds earmarked for education.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is joining the vast majority of Michigan school districts in providing in-person options for students.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.