Detroit public schools temporarily switch to virtual learning for 2 weeks

After spring break, classes will be held remotely for students between April 5-16

DETROIT – Students at Detroit public schools will learn virtually for two weeks following their return from spring break, officials announced Friday.

Note: The school district initially announced that the switch to virtual learning would last one week (through April 9). The district made an updated announcement on April 2 extending the switch for two weeks, instead.

According to the Detroit Public Schools Community District, students and staff will commence virtual learning for the weeks of April 5 and April 12 “as a safety precaution,” as COVID-19 cases surge in Michigan and Metro Detroit.

Officials say the temporary switch to online learning is designed to “allow employees and students a week of social isolation after spring break to limit the spread of COVID-19,” the initial announcement reads.

Officials say in-person learning will resume on April 19, and all learning centers will reopen then. School staff will be required to receive a negative COVID test before returning to the buildings and resuming in-person learning.

“Please be advised that due to the city’s extraordinarily high seven day COVID infection rate at 15% we will take an extra pause and plan to return to in person teaching and learning April 19,” the DPSCD announcement reads. “This is an additional week of pause from the last message you received due to infection rates worsening.”

The DPSCD began teaching in person again about one month ago on March 8. At that time, about 20,000 Detroit students opted to return to the classroom this spring amid the pandemic. However, only about 20-30% of teachers agreed to return to the classrooms at that time.

Over the last several weeks, the state of Michigan has been experiencing a surge in coronavirus spread. On Saturday, the state reported its highest single-day tally of new COVID cases -- 8,413 cases -- the first time Michigan has reported 8,000 cases in a single day since November.

Testing has been steady around 35,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate above 14% as of Friday, the highest since early December.

More: Coronavirus news

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.