Detroit schools strengthen COVID protocols ahead of fall semester

Some teachers say safety measures aren’t enough

Michigan’s largest school district is strengthening its COVID protocols as it heads into the new school year.

DETROIT – Michigan’s largest school district is strengthening its COVID protocols as it heads into the new school year.

All students and adults inside Detroit Public School Community District buildings and buses are required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

There is also mandatory weekly COVID testing for all vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and students. It will be a saliva swab test and parents of students will be asked for consent.

Read: Michigan board of education clash over mask rules during meeting

Students will be seated at least three feet apart and there will be daily symptom screening and temperature checks for students and staff. There will be deep cleaning and maintenance of schools, buses and other facilities.

Some teachers said the measures are not enough and believe the district should remain remote until the pandemic is completely over.

Nicole Conaway, with the group By All Means Necessary, said that interrupting bus service is an option if the district continues with its plan to bring students back to in-person learning. The group is prepared to engage in bus blocking and picketing to keep students out of the classroom.

Read: Detroit health officials: Everyone should wear masks inside, even if vaccinated

Sixth-grade teacher Walia Dawson is returning to the classroom, but has trepidation for herself and her granddaughters. She said she feels virtual learning is a great alternative, but not for everyone.

She said she agrees with the teachers who are questioning the safety of in-person learning, but doesn’t necessarily agree with the tactics to disrupt in-person learning.

“This announcement is irresponsible, selfish, and frankly not in touch with how everyday students and families are thinking about the upcoming school year. DPSCD will always be aligned with federal and state health officials regarding the appropriateness of opening or closing schools as it relates to COVID,” DPSCD said in a statement.

Read: Tracking Michigan school districts, colleges requiring masks for 2021-2022 school year

Metro Detroit teachers share their prespectives on return-to-school, safety measures

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.