Detroit schools superintendent: We are not in a position or need to cancel school at this point

DETROIT – Nikolai P. Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, released a statement Wednesday explaining why students and staff in his district are not in a position to cancel in-person meetings over the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

ORIGINAL STORY: Detroit schools superintendent: We are not in a position or need to cancel school at this point

Since Wednesday night, MLB spring training was suspended, the NHL and the NBA both suspended its seasons, MAC basketball tournaments and Big Ten basketball tournaments have been cancelled and many more local events have been cancelled or delayed as a precaution amid the coronavirus outbreak.

RELATED: Tracking Michigan coronavirus: Cases being monitored, test results pending

Parents are concerned. Is it safer to stay home? What about child care?

The decisions made by the DPSCD are expected to affect most students in Metro Detroit.

While many schools are exploring online learning, the DPSCD made the choice to not go that route as not all students have access to computers and the internet.

Additionally, if computer access wasn’t an issue and the students had to stay home, who is going to watch them? It’s a problem with no easy solution.

The district isn’t doing nothing -- Vitti said the district is stepping up cleaning and disinfection work.

“Additional supplies of hand soap and disinfectant solutions were also ordered and soap levels are now checked more frequently throughout the day. If this is not happening, then please inform the building principal and use the accountability measures I outlined in my last email," he wrote. “In addition, we have cancelled all student study aboard trips for the spring/summer. All previously approved in and out of county travel is proceeding unless employees and/or students who were due to participate have indicated that they no longer feel safe to travel. At this point, we have no intention of discontinuing our participation in ongoing sport/academic tournaments or spring sports/extra curriculum activities.”

On Wednesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city has partially activated its Emergency Operations Center to monitor the COVID-19 developments. At this time, the EOC is minimally staffed but will be ramped at such time there is a confirmed case in Detroit, he said.

In light of Gov. Whitmer’s recommendation that large public gatherings be canceled, the city has consulted with the organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, who have made the decision to cancel this year’s parade to reduce the opportunity for anyone to be exposed to COVID-19.

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