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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Judge orders COVID-19 testing for Detroit schoolchildren in face-to-face summer school

Back of a school bus

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

The order comes after an activist group, By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, sued the school district.  BAMN says Detroit and its public schools system are conducting what it calls a "sick experiment," on Detroit schoolchildren this summer to test the state's ability to open schools on a larger scale. 

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

Detroit has better access to COVID-19 testing than many other places in Michigan. Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the city's health department will provide free, rapid testing using nasal swabs to each student in the next three days, with the permission of their parents. Results will be returned in 30 minutes.

In a statement, Vitti said, "This order should serve as a clear wakeup call to federal and state lawmakers that guidance regarding the reopening of schools must be coherent, funded, based on the best medical and health advice, and be legally binding or this maddening process of providing public school parents with educational options this fall, F2F or online learning, is headed for political and legal wrangling that will disproportionately impact our most vulnerable families and children."