Aug 2, 2022 - News

Public schools to start without masking, distancing mandates

Illustration of a mask with a red x being drawn over it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Detroit Public Schools Community District is prepping for a new school year without a mask mandate.

Driving the news: The change comes as schools across the country work to regroup after two-plus years of interrupted learning, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

Why it matters: Students of all ages suffered steep declines in academic achievement during the pandemic. And with classes resuming soon, schools are facing a daunting challenge to keep cases down while trying to make up for that lost time.

  • COVID cases contribute to that, but there's been disagreement over what should be prioritized to keep students safe.

Zoom in: Precautions will continue in DPSCD after the school year starts on Aug. 29, including "deep cleaning," offering masks and "providing employees with access to fans or an air purifier for classrooms," superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in a statement.

  • Nurses at each school can administer rapid tests if a student or staff member shows symptoms.

Between the lines: Masks, mandated at DPSCD schools from September 2020 until this summer, are now optional after an agreement with the teachers union ended, per Chalkbeat Detroit.

  • The district won't reinstate its mask mandate or social distancing rules, unless "mandated" by health departments, Vitti said.
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