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Judge rules all Detroit summer school students must be tested for COVID-19

Tests must be done in next 5 days

DETROIT – Activists have been trying to stop students and teachers from attending in-person summer school in Detroit.

On Tuesday, judge Arthur Tarnow ruled that all summer school students must be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) in the next five days in order for classes to continue.

That ruling comes amid a lawsuit against the district that was filed by the group By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). The ruling means that 630 students need to get tested for coronavirus in five days.

READ: Inside Detroit summer school classrooms during pandemic

Tuesday marked day 6 of protests at the bus terminal for Detroit public schools. Teachers and members of the activist group banned together to stop buses from picking up children.

In Detroit, 630 students went back to school for in-person summer school. Protesters argue that it’s not safe for students to attend in-person classes.

The protesters have filed several lawsuits, trying to shut down the schools.

Watch the videos above for the full report

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti released the following statement:

“Although we are opposed to the federal judge’s order we will comply to provide our students and families with the face-to-face (F2F) instruction services that they are legally entitled to receive through Detroit Public Schools Community District’s summer school offering under MI’s Safe Return Phases. It is insulting to our parents that they must have their children COVID tested to receive public school services yet parents outside of the city can receive the same services without testing.

We want to thank the City of Detroit for working with us to provide all F2F summer school students with free, rapid testing. Beginning this week, we will allow parents who made the decision to send their children for F2F summer school instruction to have their children COVID tested through a mouth swab, not nasal testing. These tests will be done at school to reduce the burden on parents if their consent is given. Results will be returned in 30 minutes.

As a district, we were never completely opposed to student testing but continue to question the legal authority to require parents to have their child tested to receive public school educationally services, the inequity of requiring our students to test and other districts and schools not requiring the testing, and the burden it places on our parents who are already overwhelmed. The federal judge’s order essentially creates law that far exceeds federal and state safety expectations for students’ return to school under COVID.

This order should serve as a clear wake up call to federal and state lawmakers that guidance regarding the reopening of schools must be coherent, funded, based on the best medical and health advice, and be legally binding or this maddening process of providing public school parents with educational options this fall, F2F or online learning, is headed for political and legal wrangling that will disproportionately impact our most vulnerable families and children.”

Denise Fair, Chief Public Health Officer, City of Detroit released the following:

“When we heard the judge ordered 600 students to be tested in the next five days, we made immediate arrangements to allow the schools to comply. The City of Detroit has the testing capacity to respond to these types of urgent needs.”


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