Detroit, Dearborn schools prepare for online instruction after spring break

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit and Dearborn public schools are moving from in-person learning to online school next week after spring break as COVID-19 cases and positivity rates continue to rise in Michigan, especially among young people.

Both districts are observing their spring break this week, giving students and staff the time off. Students in Detroit Public Schools Community District are scheduled to return on Monday, while Dearborn Public Schools are set to return on Tuesday.

Detroit, Michigan's largest school district, decided Tuesday to pivot from face-to-face learning to allow employees and students a week of social isolation after spring break to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Detroit International Academy for Young Women Principal Sakina Bolden talks about transitioning to in-person learning in February. The Detroit school district is returning to online instruction after spring break.

Employees returning to buildings need to receive a negative COVID-19 test before in-person learning is started, district officials said.

Detroit students will not be required to test before returning to school. But district officials said they plan to begin a random COVID saliva testing program the week of April 12 for students and staff who are face-to-face in schools. Tests will be performed on-site at schools, and families and employees will be notified of test results, officials said.

Dearborn Public Schools officials made the decision Thursday to change learning modes, saying "as an added precaution as students and staff return from spring break" the district will return to school with virtual learning from next Tuesday through April 9.

Students will still attend live class that week, but will not be in-person for instruction, officials said.

In a letter to the community, Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said he has visited every school in the district since students started returning in-person on March 1.

Maleyko said he is "proud to see how students and staff are following all the COVID-19 safety protocols. We will continue to place safety as a top priority, and with an abundance of caution we have decided to place all students on a virtual schedule for the week."

The Dearborn district is making arrangements for students 16 and older who want a vaccination to receive one in April. That age group becomes eligible for vaccinations in Michigan on Monday.

Both districts operate full-time online learning programs, giving students the option to learn in-person or stay home to learn remotely.