In-person learning restarts with 1st day at Detroit public schools

Tuesday was the first day of classes for Detroit Public Schools Community District, the state's largest.

"We're just excited to be here, excited that all of our teachers are back across the district at every school every grade level," said Supt. Nikolai Vitti.

Most families were overjoyed to send students to school instead of virtual online classes.

"It was like, we felt normal again," said Karen Blanton, a grandmother of DPSCD students. "They were so excited, this is the most excited I’ve seen them in going back to school was today when I sent them off."

"Right now in the system and we have about 50,000 students and that would put us at pre-pandemic levels," Vitti said.

Vitti said the district is concentrating on keeping students and staff safe.

"All of our safety protocols will be in place that we had last year and we’re enhancing them with Covid testing every week that will happen at the school level for all of our employees and students," he said. "The only difference in safety standards is going from 6 feet to 3 feet."

But even before classes began on Tuesday, the district was forced to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak among football players at Detroit Renaissance High School.

"We knew coming in this year, that our vaccination rates are low among our student-athletes unfortunately," Vitti said. "So our sports teams are going to be more susceptible to positive cases."

That’s why the district said  Covid safety protocols will be strictly enforced. Parents say they saw them in action which makes them confident in the system.

"They let the kids in through their separate doors, all grades have different doors," said Mary. "You can’t go into the school, kids got to wear face masks. It is actually very safe."

Parents say they believe face-to-face learning is the best way to learn and They hope the school doors remain open.

"The virtual learning didn’t go well the previous year," said Mercedes Brunson.

But Vitti says for families that want online learning it is available.

"We have a virtual school which will be in existence beyond the pandemic that’s K through 12," he said.