Several Metro Detroit school districts will close for this entire week as officials battle a rise in COVID-19 cases.
That includes public schools in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit.
The decisions come as the state on Friday continued to post the worst new case rate in the U.S., according to federal health statistics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that Michigan had the most new cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Detroit school officials had planned to close from Wednesday until the end of the week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Now the school system is also canceling online and in-person classes originally scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The district also recently announced they would only hold virtual classes on Fridays next month.
Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told families that it’s critical that 75% of students log in, the minimum attendance for an official school day under state financial rules.
Officials say they want the extra time to deep clean classrooms, limit the possible spread of the virus and give both students and staff a mental health break. Many school districts are dealing with staff shortages and mentally fatigued teachers.
Some students and teachers at King High School walked out for about 20 minutes Wednesday to protest conditions inside the building. They said classes still are too large for a pandemic and the school needs a scrubbing.
King principal Damian Perry said online instruction in December will provide an opportunity for a “deep cleaning” of the school.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.