DPSCD braces for state penalties over emergency days

The state gives schools six emergency days and may penalize districts if they use more. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says COVID-19 quarantines and precautions closed schools.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is one of several in the state that has exhausted the emergency days the state allows each year.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says COVID-19 quarantines and precautions closed schools. But, he says, severe weather and social media threats after the shootings at Oxford High School also forced some closures.

“All of this has led us to be in a position where we are possibly looking at paying a penalty because of a loss of instructional time.” — Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District

The state gives schools six emergency days and may penalize districts if they use more. In years when the district had emergency days to spare, it could use its allocation to avoid penalties for too many days with attendance below 75%.

Vitti says the district fell below the attendance threshold nine days this year when it turned to online learning.

“All of this has led us to be in a position where we are possibly looking at paying a penalty because of a loss of instructional time,” Vitti told the school board this week.

The district hopes the state will help.

“We’re requesting that all requirements be waived,” Vitti said. “Or at the minimum that the threshold for attendance goes from 75% maybe to 60% because of challenges with quarantining and absences.”

Vitti says another option is to provide districts with emergency days they can use retroactively.

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Author

  • Sascha Raiyn

    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.