Covid news: Detroit classrooms reopen Jan. 31; House halts floor votes; 'frustration is real' -- Beaumont MD

January 20, 2022, 8:44 AM

Detroit students can return to public schools Jan. 31 for the first time this year. "Online learning will continue for one additional week (the week of Jan. 24)," Superintendent Nikolai Vitti announced late Wednesday.

He reminds parents that "all students (with the exception of those in the district’s virtual school) must have a Covid testing consent form on file to return to school in person on Monday, Jan. 31."

City teachers must be vaccinated by Feb. 18 under a policy the school board approved in December. There are exemptions for medical and religious reasons, as there are for the student testing requirement.

Seven administrative employees in Detroit's district tested positive for Covid last week, state health department data shows.

High infection rates and low vaccination rates in the city prompted the district to cancel classes for three days after winter break, then switch to virtual learning Jan. 6. The district enrolls about 50,000 students.  

House members stay distant

Covid risk concerns keep state representatives off the House floor and out of committee meetings this week.

Several lawmakers and House staffers tested positive, Speaker Jason Wentworth explained in announcing the pause. "Unfortunately, the same Covid wave that is spiking across the country is now reaching a high point in Michigan," he said, according to MLive.

"As a result, the House will technically be in session this week, but no voting will take place. ... We are going to act with caution."

Senators continued with business as usual.

'How frayed our rope is'

Dr. Nick Gilpin: "The frustration is real." (Photo: Beaumont Health)

Dr. Nick Gilpin, director of infection prevention at Beaumont Health, drops this front-line reality check in a blunt intrerview with Crain's Detroit Business a week after full-page ads from the hospital group to urge residents to get vaccinated and boosted:

"We've joked around a little bit about making the message more pointed, more angry at times, frankly. Let people appreciate how frayed our rope is as health care providers right now.

"I am speaking as an ambassador of our system, but you'll get both barrels if you talk to an ICU nurse who has been dealing with Covid for two years. They have absolutely had it. The frustration is real.

"I am isolated from that, right, but maybe we need to let them tell their stories more."

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