Detroit's school superintendent had a particularly alarming reason to extend the Thanksgiving break to a full week, we now learn.
When Dr. Nikolai Vitti surprised families Friday evening by cancelling classes Monday and Tuesday, he knew the district had a wave of new Covid cases among students and teachers. A weekly statewide tally shows outbreaks in two high schools and five other Detroit buildings, with at least 128 fresh diagnoses last week.
Another 68 cases are reported at 16 schools in Oakland, Macomb and suburban Wayne County. Totals likely are higher because the state health department lists only "clusters" of three or more cases.
Statewide, 891 school-related cases at 140 buildings are reported since last Monday -- up from 521 new cases at 87 schools a week earlier, according to The Detroit News.
Detroit's wave is led by 44 student cases at Renaissance High and 38 infections among staff and students at Cass Tech High School. These other five city schools also reported cases last week:
- Ronald Brown Academy: 18 middle school students and staff
- Plymouth Education Center: 11 middle school students and staff
- Burns Elementary-Middle School: 10 students and staff
- King Academic and Performing Arts Academy: 4 middle-schoo students
- Neinas Dual Language Learning Academy: 3 pupils and staff (grades K-8)
Vitti decided on a week-long holiday to give custodians additional time for sanitizing each of the city's 106 public schoos. The abrupt move came two days after he announced that students will learn remotely on three Fridays next month. "Returning to in-person learning has not been easy," the superintendent acknowledged in that statement.
Last week's first decision was based "on the concerns of school-based leaders, teachers, support staff, students and families regarding the need for mental health relief, rising Covid cases and time to more thoroughly clean schools," Vitti added.
These suburban schools also had new pandemic clusters last week:
Wayne County (47 cases)
- Harper Woods: Chandler Park Academy High, 11 students and staff
- Canton High, 6 students
- Taylor: Kinyopn Elementary, 6 students
- Westland: Schweitzer Elementary, 5 students
- Northville: Hillsdale Middle School, 4 students
- Harper Woods: Chandler Park Academy Middle School, 3 students
- Plymouth: East Middle School, 3 students
- Wayne: Kinloch Elementary, 3 pupils | West Middle School, 3 students
- Dearborn: Lindbergh Elementary, 3 pupils
Oakland (11 cases)
- Rochester Hills: West Middle School, 4 students and staff
- Clarkston: Independence Elementary, 4 pupils
- Troy: Wattles Elementary, 3 pupils
Macomb (10 cases)
- Macomb Township: Peters High, 4 students and staff
- Romeo Middle School, 3 students
- Sterling Heights: Grissom Middle School, 3 students