By Roz Edward
Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti presented attendance data to the DPSCD Board of directors indicating that on Friday, Jan. 14, only 58% of virtual learners attended online classes. Attendance improved slightly, with only 62& and 70% of students showing up for online classes on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
School officials, however, remain hopeful that for the duration of mandated virtual learning, which ends for all students on Monday, Jan. 31, that attendance will increase. Vitti most recently reported that online attendance is approaching 75%.
Districtwide online learning has been extended an additional week with all students returning to in person learning on Monday, Jan. 31.
But for DPSCD students and parents caught up in the online vs. in person learning battle, the frustration is palpable.
Experts contend that the younger the age and the more problematic virtual learning becomes, students may opt to discontinue the online learning regime due to the lack of guidance, one-on-one help, and accountability.
DPSCD Parent Latonya Peterson and her 16-year-old son Joshua Jackson, both of whom are vaccinated, expressed deep concern and even resentment over DPSCD’s decision to not return to in-person learning following the winter break. Joshua said he would rather attend school in-person and admits it is more difficult for him to focus in a virtual classroom.
“I feel like I learned less,” the high school junior said. “I’m worried that we won’t go back to class. They (the district) did it before and said it only would be a short while. It turned out to be the whole school year.”
The return to in-person learning will include required employee COVID testing and classroom sizes limited to 20 students.
The good news is that students with regular and consistent attendance at school (whether online or in-person) will be recognized at the annual First Semester Perfect Attendance Awards on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.
Students in need of academic help can call the Homework Hotline for support. The academic support is offered Monday – Thursday, from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. To use the hotline, call 1-833-466-3978 during operating hours and follow the prompts.
For students in need of technology support during online learning tech support is available at 1-313-240-4377 or visit techsupport.detroitk12.org and select “Technical Support.” Support is available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Lastly, if a student is working on a DPSCD loaner device and it is broken, visit Renaissance High School, Western High School, Fisher Upper, or Martin Luther King High School to have it assessed for repairs. These locations are open on online learning days from 9:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m.