Dearborn Public Schools is canceling the four remaining late starts scheduled for this year and will replace them with one half day on a Friday still to be determined.
The late starts scheduled for Feb. 10, March 10, April 21 and May 5 are canceled, and students and staff will have a regular day of school those days in whatever format the district is conducting class at that time.
Instead of the late starts, students will have a half day of school on the Friday before the district restarts learning labs. Teachers will use the afternoon to prepare for students returning to the classroom. The district does not yet know what day that will be.
The Board of Education has set two measures for when the district will reopen schools. Both are based on reports from the Wayne County Health Department. Dearborn has already improved to at least a D grade on the COVID risk matrix, which is the first requirement. The second requirement is that Wayne County, outside of Detroit, falls to a 5 percent or lower positivity rate on the weekly report. This week’s report showed the area down to a 6.2 percent. The most recent reports are available on the district’s COVID page.
The district expects to tell staff on a Tuesday and the public on a Wednesday when both conditions have been met. The half day would be that Friday to allow teachers to prepare to return to working in the school buildings. The Monday after the announcement, learning labs would restart, including those for special education programs funded through Act 18. Students would start returning to class in buildings for blended learning two weeks later. The board-approved reopening timeline is posted on the district’s back-to-school website.
This year’s school calendar originally included seven late start dates. Late starts are Wednesdays about once a month where students report to class an hour later to allow the staff time for professional development before school. This year, the three late starts in the first semester were cancelled after the district opted to have a soft start to online school. With this announcement, the district has eliminated all the late starts for this school year.
“In a typical year, late starts are a great tool to allow staff time to come together with their peers for teambuilding and professional development,” said Superintendent Glenn Maleyko. “However, this is not a typical year, and teachers and administrators feel the time would be better used to help make a smoother transition to restarting in-school learning.”