In a Nov. 17 statement announcing the change, the Detroit Public Schools said classes will move online on Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. The district, which serves over 49,000 students, will begin winter recess on Dec. 20.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in the statement that he and the school board made the decision “after listening and reflecting on the concerns of school-based leaders, teachers, support staff, students, and families regarding the need for mental health relief, rising COVID cases, and time to more thoroughly clean schools.”
Vitti urged parents to make sure that their children show up online on those three days, otherwise the district may lose a portion of funding it receives from the state for failing to hit an attendance goal.
“As a reminder, the state requires 180 days of instruction at 75 percent district-wide attendance or the district pays a funding penalty,” he said. “We have met this districtwide threshold each school day since the first day of school in September.”
For students who rely on school meals, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals will be made available at dismissal on the Thursdays before the remote school days, Vitti added.
Prior to the Detroit decision, some school districts in the Greater Detroit area have already revised their schedule because of staffing shortages. In Southfield Public Schools, located north of Detroit, students will learn remotely on Fridays until at least January 2022. In Novi Community School District, students have to find their own way to school on Fridays because bus services are suspended.
The announcement also comes as Michigan, where CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus infections have been on the rise since July, now leads the nation in terms of daily new cases. So far into November, the Great Lakes State has reported an average of more than 4,000 new cases each day, and the average number of new cases over the past two days, Nov. 16 and 17, has surpassed 7,200.
The surge in new COVID-19 cases comes as Michigan reached a 70 percent vaccination mark for residents 16 and older. According to data (pdf) released this Tuesday by Michigan’s health department, the period between Jan. 15 and Nov. 5 has seen a total of 77,985 breakthrough COVID-19 cases, or individuals tested positive for CCP virus 14 or more days after being fully vaccinated. Health officials also reported 2,009 breakthrough hospitalizations and 944 breakthrough deaths.
In addition, there have been 573,160 COVID-19 cases, 15,066 hospitalizations, and 6,760 deaths among individuals who were not fully vaccinated during that same period, according to the Michigan health officials.