Advance Notice: Briefs

DPSCD reaches deal with union on school reopening plan, includes hazard pay, paid sick leave

By: - July 26, 2021 2:10 pm

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 safety guidelines include:   

  • COVID-19 student and employee training. 
  • Mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for non-vaccinated staff 
  • Daily symptom and temperature checks for students and staff. 
  • 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. 
  • Desks that are placed 3ft apart to encourage social distancing in classrooms with small class sizes based upon the agreement and room size.  
  • Safety directives and reminder signage throughout all school buildings. 
  • Deep cleaning of classrooms and buildings as well as administrative checks on cleaning results and regular review of procedures. 
  • Ample supplies of hand sanitizers as well as hand sanitizing stations. 
  • Contracted nurse on duty at each school. 
  • Deep cleaning, masks, and social distance seating on school buses. 
  • Limiting access to schools by the public as well as having isolation areas for those who feel ill. 
  • Access to the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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