Detroit schools reopen classrooms for first time in months

After several months of remote learning only, the Detroit public school district is reopening its classrooms for in-person teaching. 

The district used several benchmarks before it gave the green light for students and teachers to return to learning centers.

"When pandemic infection rates in the City climbed beyond the five percent mark in November, we made the proactive decision to suspend in-person learning until rates declined in order to keep our students and employees as safe as possible," said DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. 

With positive test rates in the city around 3.5% and the availability of vaccine supplies increasing in the coming weeks, the district is allowing kids to come back for in-class learning.

"A lot of our babies don't learn well virtually, right? Some of them aren't motivated the same, they don't grasp the same information and so hearing their cry out of just needing to be in school and to be educated, we're now able to provide that again," said Sakina Bolden, the principal of Detroit International Academy for Young Women.

March was the month that leaders wanted all districts to offer some form of learning in the classroom by, after months hybridized options and remote-only services were prioritized at many of Michigan's schools.

Almost every district hit that benchmark by March 1. To help bolster protections upon returning, Michigan increased vaccine eligibility to teachers before other industries.

RELATED: Hazard pay, 20-student limits part of union agreement between Detroit district and teachers

The decision to return to class in Detroit has the support of the teachers union, which was among the biggest opponents to opening learning centers over the previous summer. Teachers who work in-person will receive $750 in hazard pay for each quarter they work. 

While there isn't a current mandate for getting vaccinated, all faculty must test negative for COVID-19 before entering the building.

Anyone inside must wear face masks and social distancing rules will be enforced. Virtual learning is also still available.