DETROIT — Equal Opportunity Now/By Any Means Necessary (EON/BAMN) is filing a grievance against the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD).
Just two weeks into the schools reopening, there have been multiple cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 throughout buildings across the district.
Cases have been reported at A.L. Holmes Academy, Bates Academy, Breithaupt Career Center, Cass Technical High School, Charles R. Drew Transition Center, Charles Wright Academy, Cody High School, Communication and Media Arts High School, Denby High School, Gompers Elementary Middle School, Mackenzie Elementary Middle School, Marquette Elementary Middle School, Mason Academy and Renaissance High School.
According to a press release provided by EON/BAMN, staff at Drew Transition Center are planning a grievance against violations of COVID safety procedures.
Complaints are also being filed against the DPSCD administration with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission for discrimination on the basis of race and job classification as special education aides are required to report to work in buildings where COVID is known to spread, while teachers are provided the option to work remotely.
DPSCD teacher Benjamin Royal, who is also a EON/BAMN caucus member, said what’s happening is unconscionable.
“It is unconscionable for DPSCD administration to insist the schools can be safely reopened while COVID cases are popping up in buildings all over the district,” Royal said. “There are without a doubt far more cases and outbreaks than we know of because of the administration’s refusal to require regular testing of all staff and students entering the buildings. There is no way for parents or students to make informed decisions while district administration actively suppresses information about the spread of COVID in the schools. The school buildings need to be closed back down immediately.”
Fellow teacher and caucus member Nicole Conaway said that she believes the numbers being reported aren’t accurate.
“There are a growing number of COVID cases being self-reported all over the district,” she said. “The real number of COVID cases in district buildings is likely much larger than we know. Without mandatory testing, we have no way of knowing the extent of COVID spread in the buildings, and there’s no way to claim the schools are safe without knowing that. The schools need to be closed back down right now.”
Special education aide and caucus member L.C. Bulger said that the schools are refusing to notify staff of COVID cases.
““Staff at Drew Transition Center are working in unsafe conditions,” Bulger said. “The school administration knew about a COVID case there last week and refused to notify the staff until this week. Without that notification staff members have no way of knowing if they need to quarantine. Not telling anyone is just making it more dangerous for everyone in the building and in their community.”