Southeastern HS resumes in-person classes after closure for flood damage repairs

A calculator sits on a desk as students work in a math class at Southeastern High School in Detroit, MI. Photo by Anthony Lanzilote/Chalkbeat �June, 2019 photo�

In-person classes have resumed at Detroit’s Southeastern High School, which closed in January because of significant water damage that forced the school to pivot to online learning.

Students and staff returned to their classrooms on Mar. 15, according to Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The building had been closed for repairs since early January, when officials found that a pipe burst over winter break and waterlogged classrooms. Construction work continues on the school’s hallways, Vitti said, which need new tiling. That project is expected to be completed before the beginning of next school year.

The district last month considered moving Southeastern’s roughly 600 students temporarily to another DPSCD building, such as Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men near Midtown Detroit, or switching to a hybrid format.

But students, staff, and families who were surveyed said they preferred to continue with online learning until the repairs were done, Vitti told Detroit school board members during February’s monthly meeting.

Vitti said attendance remained high throughout the online learning period, with roughly 95% of students attending online classes.

Ethan Bakuli is a reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit covering Detroit Public Schools Community District. Contact Ethan at

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