(Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

The Detroit Public Schools Community District has put a nix to all in-person classes until Jan. 11 due to the rise in coronavirus cases in Michigan.

Part of the decision was due to Detroit’s high positivity rate of infection, which is nearing 5–7 percent.

“The District relied on science and the data to reopen schools for in person learning this summer and fall and relied on the same criterium to decide that it was no longer safe for our students and employees to work in an in person school environment. Without a vaccine, we will remain accountable to that 5-7 percent infection rate,” DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in a press release.

Vitti added, “I am remarkably proud of District staff, principals and school level staff who have stayed faithful to our COVID-19 safety strategies. This has allowed us to keep schools open for in person learning and access to our learning centers with a limited number of outbreaks as compared to other districts and schools throughout the state.”

The new mode of learning will start Monday (Nov. 16), to give time for families to plan for virtual learning. Learning centers will also be open Monday, but no instruction will be happening. If the city’s infection rates get better, the district may go back to face-to-face learning before Jan. 11.

The DPSCD board released a statement supporting on the move.

“This pandemic is a challenge we are working through alongside all of you,” the board stated. “We are listening and making the necessary adjustments to uphold our commitment to provide the best public education option for Detroit’s students and that their opportunity is equitable for every family during this pandemic and beyond.

“The priority at this point is physical safety. All decisions are made with students’ best interests at the forefront and in consultation with health authorities. We ask everyone to follow the guidelines of the health authorities, wear your masks, wash your hands, stay home when you are not feeling well and continue to educate others around you.”

The district will keep providing meals for students. Three meals will be distributed on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and four meals on Thursdays at the same time, according to a statement.

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