Nikolai Vitti, March 18, 2020 | Ken Coleman
Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) announced Monday that a deal has been struck with the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) for the schools’ reopening plan with updates for COVID-19 safety standards.
“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 DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. “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.”
The agreement provides support for teachers and auxiliary staff, including hazard pay up to $2,000 and another $2,000 if teachers need to work with students in a blended learning environment and paid sick leave for any DFT member who performs work in-person and contracts COVID-19 or is asked to quarantine.
“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.”
Additionally, one of the provisions agreed to by the District and DFT is the continuation of the joint Labor Management Committee on Schools Reopening (CSR), which meets weekly to review reopening issues and review pandemic-related data to inform any recommendations to leadership.
All DPSCD teachers and ancillary staff will return to schools for in-person instruction for the next school year, while adhering to COVID-19 safety standards agreed to by the DFT and the district.
The district will also provide full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to include protective gowns, face masks, face shields, shoe covers and gloves. In addition, supplemental cleaning services, room fans and air purifiers upon request.
While there is a priority on getting students back into the classroom, the reopening plan includes provisions for a new district-operated virtual school.
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