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More Detroit families and teachers want in-person learning, survey responses show

The hallways and classrooms of Detroit’s Southeastern High School have been quiet in recent years as enrollment has fallen. Supporters hope new plans for the school will attract more students.
In Detroit, more parents and teachers say they want in-person learning. Photo taken in 2019 at Southeastern High School.
Anthony Lanzilote/Chalkbeat

More students and teachers are likely to show up when the Detroit school district reopens its doors for in-person learning next month, according to the latest results of an ongoing survey.

With about 80% to 90% of district teachers responding so far, 40% of them say they’re willing to teach face to face. That’s up from about 20% in the fall, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said during a school board committee meeting Monday.

The family survey shows 50% of parents who responded want their kids in school in person. That’s up from 25% in the fall, Vitti said.

Families can still take the survey here.

The discussion comes as more school districts transition from virtual learning to face-to-face learning in Michigan, where the positive COVID-19 cases are on the decline. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Jan. 8 urged school districts to offer an in-person option for students by March 1, if not earlier.

The Detroit district canceled in-person classes in November and transitioned students online because of rising COVID-19 cases. Vitti said earlier this month that he hoped to bring students back by mid-February.

Vitti said principals are working through schedules now to see what can be offered at various grade levels. A lot will depend on the ability to match teacher preference with parent demand.

It’s likely that some students will return to a hybrid model, where they’ll be in school some weekdays and learning at home on the days they’re not in the building.

“We will have very different situations at different schools,” Vitti said. “We’ll have some schools where all grade levels will offer in-person learning. We’ll have some schools that offer just kindergarten in-person learning.”

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