Detroit public schools, Detroit Federation of Teachers reach agreement for reopening plan

Detroit Public Schools announces another half day Tuesday because of heat
Posted at 10:39 AM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 10:39:35-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Detroit Federation of Teachers have reached a reopening plan agreement.

The signed Letter of Agreement will return all teachers and staff to the classroom while adhering to 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. 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,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, in a press release.

One of many key provisions agreed to by the District and DFT is the continuation of the joint Labor Management Committee on Schools Reopening, which will meet weekly to review reopening issues and review pandemic related data to inform any recommendations to leadership regarding the plan.

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

Additionally, the reopening plan also has provisions for a new and separate virtual school. The agreement provides additional support for any DFT member who performs work in person and contracts COVID-19 or is asked to quarantine by paying sick-leave. In the event a teacher is asked to quarantine and is asymptomatic, instruction will continue remotely to ensure continuity of student learning.

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.