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Judge: Detroit summer school students must get coronavirus test by Friday

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Detroit Public Schools Community District solved its teacher shortage by increasing pay. Could other Michigan districts do the same?

This article was originally published on Chalkbeat Detroit, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here:

A federal judge is ordering all Detroit students who are attending summer school to be tested for COVID-19 before the end of the week.

The order is part of a lawsuit — now moved to federal court — brought by an activist group that wants to halt the Detroit school district’s in-person summer school classes.

About 650 students are attending the face-to-face classes, while about a thousand or so more are taking virtual summer classes.

The group By Any Means Necessary, which filed the lawsuit, has been holding protests on a regular basis since the classes began July 13. Their protests have often blocked school buses from leaving to pick students up to take them to school. The group filed a lawsuit last week.

During a court hearing Tuesday afternoon, district attorney Jenice Mitchell Ford objected to U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow’s order requiring the testing. Ford said the district is complying with state guidelines, none of which require testing.

She said it “does create a bit of an undue burden,” on district families.

“It creates inequitability,” Ford said.

The Detroit district isn’t the only one conducting face-to-face summer classes. A small group of high school students are taking summer school classes in the Novi Community Schools district.

Tarnow argued that the injustice applies to students attending other schools that aren’t requiring testing.

“The people who should be complaining are the people in the suburbs or other parts of the state who are not required to go through a test. The injustice … that they are in school that could be — emphasis on the could — could be unsafe.”

Tarnow ordered testing to begin Wednesday and be completed by Friday.

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