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Detroit district extends pause on in-person learning a week as COVID surges in Michigan

Lori Higgins, Chalkbeat |

The Detroit school district is extending its pause on in-person learning until April 19 as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Michigan.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District had previously planned to pause learning inside buildings after the spring break that ended Friday for one week.

The update, posted on the district’s Twitter account Saturday afternoon, means students who had been learning face to face, or attending the district’s learning centers, won’t return for two weeks.

The pause comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday urged schools to keep students virtual after spring break. Whitmer also called on Michigan residents who traveled during spring break to get tested upon their return.

“Students and families traveling across Michigan, to other states or out of the country risk being exposed to and carrying COVID-19 with them,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. “This in turn could fuel outbreaks within their households and the communities where they live or visit.”

Michigan has been in the midst of a COVID-19 surge. On Friday, WDIV-TV reported Michigan had the highest spread of the virus in the nation.

The state is creating 37 pop-up testing sites to accommodate spring break travelers.

In the Detroit district, staff will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test before they can return to in-person learning. The district is also expected to begin random saliva testing of students.

Meanwhile, other school districts have also decided to pause in-person instruction, including Hamtramck Public Schools, which said its plan to return K-6 students to in-person learning on Monday has been delayed until April 19.

“We believe it is important to continue to respond to the changing pandemic, and to always put the safety of our school community first,” Hamtramck Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed said in a statement.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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