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Detroit schools go online; doc: January could be ‘bleakest’

January 4, 2022 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Students in the Detroit school district will resume classes at home with laptops, at least through Jan. 14.

Online learning is necessary until the city’s COVID-19 infection rates “decrease to safer levels,” the district said Tuesday.

The holiday break for more than 40,000 students in the Detroit district will end Thursday.

“The only way we’re going to get to the other side of this pandemic is if we move to higher rates of vaccination,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. “Testing is something that I would consider more of a temporary safety strategy. ... Students will never get a regular education unless they’re vaccinated because they’re vulnerable to quarantining.”

About 37% of eligible Detroit residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, far below the statewide figure. Michigan’s case numbers have caused many schools to delay the start of January classes or switch to online learning.

Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System is “bracing for one of the bleakest months” of the pandemic, said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, director of infection control, citing the likely spread of COVID-19 during holiday gatherings.

Michigan reported an average of 12,200 new daily cases from last Thursday through Monday.

“This pandemic is not slowing down and we are still surging,” Cunningham told reporters Tuesday.