Detroit Public School Board Member Rehashes ‘Flatten The Curve’ To Defend COVID Closures


Chrissy Clark Education Reporter
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A Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD) board member told CNN that the district is returning to online learning amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in an attempt to “flatten the curve,” during a Jan. 4 interview.

Board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo told CNN anchor Kate Bolduan that the district would close its doors to in-person learning until Jan. 14, citing a seven-day COVID-19 infection rate exceeding 40 percent.

“We know that [the Omicron variant is] highly contagious and we just want to flatten the curve,” Gay-Dagnogo said. “I think that is certainly the best way to go to keep everyone safe.”


DPSCD announced that it would return to remote learning on Jan. 6 amid the city’s rising infection rate. The district’s online learning FAQ form also informed parents that the DPSCD’s Board of Education is requiring staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as “a condition of employment” by Feb. 18, though staff may be eligible for an extension if they recently contracted the virus. Fully vaccinated — per DPSCD’s definition — does not include the booster shot.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told the Daily Caller that the district will consider an extension of the online learning period “if infection rates in the city do not dramatically improve.” Vitti said the seven-day infection rate needs to be at or below 10 to 15 percent. (RELATED: Detroit Superintendent Admits Curriculum ‘Is Deeply Using Critical Race Theory’)

Closing schools for in-person learning goes against guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, both of whom advocated for schools to remain open amid the Omicron spike by implementing test-to-stay programs. Such programs allow asymptomatic students to return to in-person learning.

Studies touted by the CDC uncovered that children are more likely to transmit COVID-19 in their communities than in school settings, and limited in-person learning is attributed to negative effects on students’ mental and emotional well-being.