Detroit's 36% Covid test positivity rate prompts 3-day school closure

January 01, 2022, 9:32 AM by  Violet Ikonomova

Nearly 20 percent of teachers who had tested by Friday were positive for Covid-19. (Photo: DPSCD)

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is taking a three-day "post-holiday break return pause" and then may return to district-wide online learning as the city grapples with an all-time high infection rate of 36 percent.

The move, outlined in a Friday message from Superintendent Nikolai Vitti to district parents, creates a testing window for students and staff coming off of holiday gatherings. In-person and online classes are canceled from Monday through Wednesday and plans for laptop distribution are being developed in the event of a return to virtual. 

Staff are required to test, while students are strongly encouraged and can receive free testing through the district. Additional information will be released Wednesday afternoon or evening.

"This high rate of infection will inevitably mean that a return to in person learning on Monday, January 3, 2022, with nearly 8,000 employees and partners and nearly 50,000 students will lead to extensive Covid spread placing employees, students, and families at risk along with excessive staff shortages due to positive and close contact scenarios," Vitti said. "This is especially the case with an overall low rate of vaccination within the city and among students."

At least two other Southeast Michigan districts also are easing into 2022 rather than letting students return Monday:

Pontiac: Virtual learning only from Monday until Jan. 18.

Ann Arbor: Closed Monday and Tuesday; reopens for virtual remote learning Wednesday-Friday. "We anticipate a return to in-school learning for students and staff on Monday, Jan. 10," Superintendent Jeanice Swift posts on New Year's Eve. She cites "an extraordinary increase in Covid cases across our Ann Arbor community, higher than at any prior time during this pandemic." 

These Detroit testing sites are open 9 a.m. through 6 p.m.:

  • Henry Ford High School

  • Breithaupt Career Technical Center

  • DCP at Northwestern (enter through the back of the school)

  • Mumford High School

  • Pershing High School

  • Brenda Scott Academy

  • Fisher Upper Academy

  • Davis Aerospace High School

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Senior High School

  • Western High School


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