Detroit district superintendent Nikolai Vitti is urging Michigan leaders to close schools for the rest of the year. 

“Family and employee health anxiety is too high to have students return to school prematurely. Opening too early will lead to numerous challenges, mainly extreme levels of student and employee absences that will undermine the expected learning experience in schools,” Vitti wrote Monday in an open letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state Superintendent Michael Rice, and the state Board of Education.

Vitti also said the district is against switching to virtual instruction for academic credit. 

On Friday, amid great outcry, the state told districts that any online instruction by districts would not count toward the 180 hours of instruction required by the state.

Vitti said online instruction “would leave behind thousands of students who would not have the family support structure to navigate through the faceless and nameless bureaucracy of virtual education. There would be no accountability or oversight for learning,” he wrote. “The solution here is continuing learning opportunities that are enrichment based, not required.”

Vitti offered these recommendations: 

  • Close schools until next school year; 
  • Require all school districts to develop online learning for enrichment, not credit;
  • Continue full state funding for the rest of the school year; 
  • Promote and give credits to graduating seniors. 

You can read the full letter to Michigan leaders below.