DETROIT (AP) — In-person educating in Detroit’s public schools is scheduled to restart March 8 for students and teachers who choose to return to classrooms.
The decision to reopen buildings was made in conjunction with the Detroit Federation of Teachers union and comes as COVID-19 infection rates in the city fall, the Detroit Public Schools Community District said Monday.
However, the district will continue to provide an option for virtual learning and teaching.
“When pandemic infection rates in the city climbed beyond the 5% mark in November, we made the proactive decision to suspend in-person learning until rates declined in order to keep our students and employees as safe as possible,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. “Now that the infection rate in the city has consistently been well below 5%, we are ready to welcome our students and teachers back who choose to resume in-person learning and teaching.”
The district has about 50,000 students.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has strongly encouraged schools to offer a face-to-face option by March 1. Last March, Whitmer ordered that all of the state’s public and private schools be closed for three weeks to combat the spread of the virus.
The Detroit district started distance learning through the end of last school year and began this academic year with a mix of in-person and virtual classes.
“We continue to stand by operating in the best interest of the teachers, faculty, students and their families,” union president Terrence Martin said. “We will continue to monitor this situation and make sure the best decisions and practices are in place.”
Teachers who do decide to return to school buildings will receive $750 in hazard pay for the academic quarter.
Teachers and staff are not required to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at this time and there are no requirements for employees who have been vaccinated to work in-person, according to the district.
Negative virus tests are required for teachers and staff reporting to school buildings.
Mask-wearing will be required in school buildings, social distancing guidelines are to be followed and temperatures will be checked daily, the district said.