Twenty-four Detroit schools were closed last week due to a “high number of teacher absences.” Just one day earlier, classes were canceled at 64 schools, more than two-thirds of the district’s total. The absences are a result of what teachers union officials are calling a “sick-out,” an off-the-books strike protesting the cleanliness and overall conditions within the schools.

According to CNN reporting, many of the Detroit schools are plagued with black mold, rats and cockroaches and falling ceiling tiles. These conditions, say teachers, are not only safety hazards, but they are standing in the way of quality education for students.

Responding to the strike, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan ordered inspections of the city’s public schools. He assures teachers that the 20 most challenging schools will be inspected by the end of January, with the remaining schools to be inspected before the end of April.

In recent years, much of the districts funding has been diverted away from the schools in favor of paying off city debt, but the major comments that any deficiencies found during the inspections will be corrected promptly.

To read more about the status of Detroit Public Schools, click here.