Detroit public schools superintendent asks staff to 'work through the heat'

Posted at 11:44 AM, Sep 05, 2018

Multiple schools across metro Detroit either closed or were released early Wednesday due to extremely hot temperatures.

However, schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District will not be dismissed early.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti asked his school-based staff to work through the heat due to enrollment being "critical" and "fragile."

In an email to employees, he told them that canceling or reducing the second day of school to a half day may "send the wrong message to parents."

Vitti declined to talk or provide a statement about his request to staff.

More than 50 schools in Detroit do not have air conditioning. Water coolers have been set up in the hallways after recent tests showed high levels of lead and/or copper inside 16 Detroit schools. 

On top of that, students are being taught in the dark and teachers are using fans to stay cool.

Read Vitti's full email to staff below:

School Based Staff,
Please know that I have received your emails about the hot conditions in school yesterday and the expected hot temperatures today.  ‎I am not ignoring your emails. I clearly experienced the hot conditions as I visited schools.
Due to this only being the second day of school and weather conditions expecting to drop to the 70s on Thursday I am asking you to please work through the heat for the day. 
As you know, last year we made schedule adjustments due to the warmer weather. Please know that we will continue to do that when necessary. However, enrollment is critical and fragile with all of the alternative options students have in the city right now. Cancelling or reducing the second day of school to a half day may send the wrong message to parents, especially considering many will be challenged to adjust their work schedules to arrange child care and/or transportation.
Please feel free to work with your principal to make adjustments to the traditional schedule to address the heat, which could include moving to cooler parts of the building or going outside.
Please know that I do not take these decisions lightly and attempt to make the hardest decisions based on what is best for the district, our students, and you.