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Detroit teachers to hold strike vote Wednesday over reopening schools during pandemic

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Teachers at Detroit Public Schools Community District plan to hold a vote on whether to strike over safety concerns about plans to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials with the Detroit Federation of Teachers said the union will take a strike vote at its 4:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

"The Detroit Federation of Teachers, on behalf of its over 4,000 members, has continuously expressed concern with the District regarding its reopening plan," officials said in a statement Friday. "A few weeks ago we issued a list of demands in partnership with our sister unions. Our demands continue to go ignored and so it is now time for us to bring the question to our membership to make a difficult but necessary decision for what is in the best interest of our students and members."

The state's largest district with 51,000 students approved a reopening plan last month that calls for smaller in-person classes and daily safety protocols including cleanings, mask-wearing and social distancing for those who choose to return their children to classroom buildings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, some teachers, labor leaders and community members have blasted the plan, arguing it's unsafe to resume in-person instruction. The district has said it will abide by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's decisions if a shift to fully online instruction is required based on the trajectory of the pandemic this fall.

DPSCD hopes to reach an agreement with the teachers, district spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson said Friday. "We are actively negotiating with the union," she said.

The district is scheduled to begin classes Sept. 8.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez