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Detroit schools halting in-person learning through January

Detroit schools halting in-person learning through January
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Detroit's public school system on Thursday moved to suspend all in-person classes for the remainder of 2020 as the COVID-19 outbreak in the state surges.

A notice posted on the community district's website stated that students would return to in-person learning on Jan. 11 at the earliest, while the policy shifting all students to distanced learning models will go into effect Friday.

Officials said that the reason for the decision was the rate of COVID-19 tests being returned with positive results, which has risen to about 5 percent in the city in recent days.

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“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," said the school system's superintendent, Nikolai Vitti.

"Despite the reality of COVID-19, we have been able to keep employees and students safe and serve them directly if their families needed that level of support," Vitti continued. "As we have been doing throughout this pandemic, we will continue to adjust to serve our students and families by expanding direct technology support for families while also continuing to feed students."

While in-person classes are suspended, physical school locations around the city will remain open, according to the notice, in order to provide support services for parents and students as well as to continue providing a meal service on Mondays and Thursdays.

“This pandemic is a challenge we are working through alongside all of you. 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 school board added in its own statement.

State health officials announced more than 6,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing Michigan's total to nearly 230,000. Officials also recorded 84 deaths from the virus in a 24-hour period, the most state authorities have seen in one day so far.