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

This Detroit school is among 26 sites offering summer school classes in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. (Photo by Eleanore Catolico/Chalkbeat Detroit)

This story first appeared in Chalkbeat Detroit.

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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Tue, 07/21/2020 - 8:47pm

Who can argue with that?

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 11:42am

Someone who follows science and realizes that young people are at zero risk from coronavirus.

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 3:31pm

No one wants science when we can use politics. In addition to the zero risk, what good is the testing? So the kids all test negative by Friday, do we need to retest on Monday? The test only indicates they are negative at the moment of testing. This is the reason we all have to wear masks so all of us healthy people don't infect others. It's amazing how we are all concerned about making sure Detroit students have access to education until we can find a political reason to oppose it.

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 2:49pm

Baseline. I know, you follow Trump science, better not to know. LOL

Fri, 07/24/2020 - 3:34pm

You have that right! Now only half have been tested and two tested positive. So now we can isolate, sanitize, and contact trace. Jeff knows nothing about science.

Matt G
Wed, 07/22/2020 - 5:02pm

Jeff, you don't follow science, and you don't talk like someone who understands science. Scientists don't use phrases like "zero risk" unless it's actually zero. Many children have died of COVID-19, so your statement is completely incorrect. Please don't post lies.

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 7:04pm

So let's see what the tests say. Trump says it's going to get worse before better. Yet he's screaming to open the schools.

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 10:44am

I enjoy reading Mike Rowe's responses on Facebook. He spoke about a immunologist who has not changed his message in all these months. This is a small part of a long response. "Dr. Osterholm is the Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy. This is the same epidemiologist who ten years ago, predicted a coronavirus would come from China and turn our country upside down. In his book “Deadliest Enemies,” he described the utterly irresponsible way in which the media would report on the situation, the completely opportunistic and shamelessly political way our leaders would likely react, and the unprecedented chaos and confusion that would arise from all the mixed messages from the medical community." Mike's assessment was Dr. Osterholm predicted that we could easily see 100 million COVID cases in this country, with a very strong possibility of 480,000 fatalities – even if we successfully “flattened the curve.”
Mike went on to say that at some point we will need to accept the real possibility that these numbers will be reached and there is truly little that can be done, he analogized on how we would react if we were given the daily car accident report from around the country and the death toll every day in hysterical fashion, he writes,"Imagine every day you were told in hysterical tones, that another 16,000 accidents had occurred, resulting in another 90 deaths per day. What would that do to your willingness to drive? Six million accidents is a lot of accidents, and 40,000 annual fatalities is a lot of death – especially if you don’t know how high that number could get. But we DO know the dangers of driving, and we’ve accepted those numbers." He ends with, "I have accepted Dr. Osterholm’s numbers, and now, after three months of acceptance, I’ve made a decision on how I wish to live my life. " Mike was responding to someone who thought he was being irresponsible in shooting another television show. I tend to agree and note we all at some point need to figure out the best way to live our best lives without fear or anger at someone living theirs.

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 3:19pm

You left out this: Mike Rowe concluded his post by explaining the steps he’s taken so he doesn’t get COVID-19. “I get tested often,” Mike shared. “If I can’t distance, I wear a mask – especially around higher risk people.” “Anyway Darlene, that’s a long way of saying that I have accepted Dr. Osterhol

Fri, 07/24/2020 - 3:36pm

Mike Rowe??? Let's listen to Fauci. Mike can throw the pitches. Tony can give us the science.