Detroit, MI

Detroit Public Schools Community District reaches agreement with teachers to reopen schools

Wayne Dover

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DETROIT, MI - On July 26, 2021, the Detroit Public Schools Community District has reached an agreement with the Detroit Federation of Teachers to reopen the district’s schools.

The reopening Letter of Agreement recognizes the importance of all DPSCD teachers and ancillary staff to return to the classroom and schools with COVID-19 safety standards and protocols.

The agreement provides up to $2,000 hazard pay for teachers and auxiliary staff and an extra $2,000 if teachers need to work with students in a blended learning environment (i.e., in-person learners coupled with online learners).

“We are all excited to have our students back in schools and classrooms in the fall. As a district, I am proud that we did everything we could to meet the needs of our employees, students, and families during the most difficult times of the pandemic,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Everyone did their part to keep each other safe and supported. This agreement signals that we are all on the same page to restart our reform efforts that had great momentum before the pandemic. With a much-needed infusion of one-time Federal COVID Relief funding, we will be able to effectively address absenteeism, learning loss, mental health, and many of our long-term facility needs.”

Although there was a small number of outbreaks when the district effectively opened schools before access to the vaccine last year, DPSCD is still committed to implementing extensive safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus in schools. The safety guidelines include:

1. COVID-19 student and employee training.

2. Mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for non-vaccinated staff

3. Daily symptom and temperature checks for students and staff.

4. Sanitizing wipes and sprays, face shields, gowns and gloves will be given to teachers and staff. Air purifiers and fans will be provided upon request.

5. Desks that are placed three feet apart to encourage social distancing in classrooms with small class sizes based upon the agreement and room size.

6. Safety directives and reminder signage will be posted throughout all school buildings.

7. Deep cleaning of classrooms and buildings as well as administrative checks on cleaning results and regular review of procedures.

8. Ample supplies of hand sanitizers as well as hand sanitizing stations.

9. Contracted nurse on duty at each school.

10. Deep cleaning, masks, and social distance seating on school buses.

11. Limiting access to schools by the public as well as having isolation areas for those who feel ill.

12. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The district also will also provide full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that includes protective gowns, face masks, face shields, shoe covers and gloves.

“As a board, we understand it is time to make the necessary provisions to ensure all students can return to their classrooms this fall,” said Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, DPSCD Board of Education President.

“We believe our protocols are proven to work and we applaud our students and teachers who have demonstrated we can effectively perform seemingly difficult tasks. We thank the DFT for their partnership and willingness to stand with us, students first.”

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