Shut Down Detroit Public Schools Community District To Stop COVID-19 Spread

Shut Down Detroit Public Schools Community District To Stop COVID-19 Spread

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Hafiza Khalique started this petition to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti and

My name is Hafiza Khalique and I am a student at Cass Technical High School in the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD). I am an organizer with By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and the chair of a youth-led activist organization, Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan, both of which have been leading efforts to shut schools down and ensure safe virtual learning environments for all students. Over the last two years of this pandemic, which students have insufferably managed to withstand, the district has failed to make the right decisions that kept students’ safety at heart. 


For the 2021-2022 school year, DPSCD has decided to reopen schools with knowledge that COVID-19 will eventually spread; they have decided to put youth, who may or may not be vaccinated, at risk of possible exposure. The district has implemented “safety measures” within the schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, these “safety measures” are ineffective and have, in fact, contributed to the rising cases within the school district. Temperature checks, mask mandates, optional weekly testing, social distancing, and cleaning are the measures that DPSCD has taken to prevent COVID-19. A number of students and teachers have broken the mask mandate, without penalty, and it is impossible to track the virus when schools cannot control or monitor whether students or staff practice social distancing and wearing a mask outside of school grounds. Additionally, COVID-19 testing is optional. The number of cases, which are increasing heavily, are only based on a small number of students that participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. Testing occurs only once a week, limiting students’ opportunity to get tested during school. Social distancing is rarely practiced; lunchrooms and hallways are crowded, while some classrooms do not have the capacity to maintain a 3ft distance. 


With all of these “safety measures” in place that have proven to be ineffective, it is not a surprise that the cases have skyrocketed, resulting in a decision of closing all DPSCD schools and buildings on Monday, November 22, and Tuesday, November 23. The district’s response to this situation was the following: partial remote learning for the month of December. However, Cass Technical High School has been doing partial remote learning by following a hybrid schedule since the beginning of September: it did not work. It is clear to see that the only solution to keep students and staff safe is by STAYING HOME!


The only fully remote option that DPSCD provided was the virtual school. This virtual school was inadequate for students learning from home: approximately 30-50 kids in the classroom, shortage of teachers, staff who are unavailable to aid their students, and lack of student resources and learning opportunities.


Attending school virtually on Fridays is not the only day that can expose students and staff to COVID-19. COVID-19 exposure still exists for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This is still not safe and does not provide any help with this spread. Currently, Michigan is the worst hotspot for COVID-19 and it has become unmanageable to contain: 1 out of 10 new cases in the US are from Michigan. The new variant creates more urgency to close schools down. Those who live with people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 are forced to stay home and miss out on school for their own safety and their loved ones. DPSCD needs to provide staff an opportunity to adjust and plan accordingly for virtual learning. This school district has failed to keep students and families safe and needs to listen to the concerns of their students and staff: SHUT THE SCHOOLS DOWN!

Contributions/Signed By: Wajiha Begum, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), Detroit Area Youth Uniting Michigan (D.A.Y.U.M.)

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!