During the week before Halloween, Mumford High School had 22 reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 100 students had been identified as close contacts and were told to quarantine.
After the school district, in partnership with the Detroit Health Department, identified these cases as an outbreak, Mumford announced a transition to remote learning.
Students were invited to pick up tablets on Nov. 1, and remote learning began on Nov. 3 with classes expected to resume in-person on Nov. 8.
Dean of Culture Nicolette Jefferson, who was at the school on Monday for the tablet distribution, said she wasn’t surprised about the transition to remote learning.
“I feel that it was inevitable," she said. "I think this is something that we’re going to have to get used to as we cope with COVID."
Darcell Smith, who graduated this year, spent his entire senior year online and hopes this year’s seniors will have a better experience.
“Quarantine is necessary to ensure everyone’s safety," Smith said. "If a week of quarantine is what’s needed for everyone to experience face-to-face learning, then so be it."
Senior Saniya McMillian said she understands that it’s safer for students to be at home right now but thinks the timing will be complicated for students.
“I do not like how we are going virtual the week before the quarter ends because it’s going to be challenging for some students to turn in work that was due in person,” McMillian said.
Although students are expected to come back to the school on Nov. 8, senior Jacob Kinney said he thinks the closure will reflect the year of quarantine that staff and students had to endure last year.
“I feel like with this outbreak, they are just going to extend virtual learning which indeed will make students drop out,” Kinney said.
Samuel Arrington is a parent who has two children at Mumford right now and one who graduated in June. He said his children were unmotivated last year and didn’t enjoy virtual learning at all.
“Once face-to-face learning started, I saw an entire shift in their mood," Arrington said. "They even come home to do their homework. I prefer seeing my kids in a happier environment, but I understand that virtual learning is necessary right now.”
Because of its large student population, assistant principal Jeanine Melton said she thinks Mumford may continue to face temporary closures this year.
“It is difficult to contain exposure in a high school with students who move class to class and hour to hour," Melton said. "Early in the pandemic we were told to avoid crowds and, essentially, Mumford is a large crowd. Hopefully, this closure will show students how important it is to wear their masks properly so we don’t have to spend the whole year virtual.”