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Detroit public schools scramble to prepare for start of uncertain semester

DPSCD officials work to figure out what back-to-school means during global pandemic

DETROIT – The Detroit Public Schools Community District is scrambling to finish the final preparations for what’s sure to be an unusual fall semester.

DPSCD officials admit things are still in flux, and they’re asking everyone to be patient as they try to figure out what “back-to-school” looks like during a global pandemic.

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A clear picture of what learning will look like at Detroit public schools is still being drawn for a variety of reasons, district officials said. DPSCD is still trying to reach as many as 5,000 students, plan for day-of enrollment and also put together a plan with many moving parts.

Right now, while all school buildings will be open, some will not be schools, but learning centers. Masters math teacher Voncile Campbell will be teaching remotely because of underlying health issues.

“They won’t be in a classroom with a face-to-face teacher,” Campbell said.

Bow Elementary-Middle School, for instance, only had enough in-person students sign up for the first, second and fourth grades. But for all the other students who signed up for face-to-face instruction, there weren’t enough teachers or students.

For parents who need to work, their children will be sent to learning centers. Cass Tech and Renaissance are among the high schools that will be learning centers.

District officials are still trying to knit together how many face-to-face classrooms will be available based on the fact that even as late as this weekend, some teachers who had decided to teach remotely opted to come back to the classroom to teach after up to $3,000 of hazard pay was agreed upon in the letter of agreement between DPSCD and the teacher’s union.

It’s possible in the next week or two that learning centers could be returned to face-to-face classrooms, depending on the mix of willing teachers and willing parents to reenter buildings.

You can watch Paula Tutman’s full story in the video posted above.


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