This week, DC Public Schools will begin contacting parents and guardians with offers of in-person classroom seats for the next term, which begins February 1st.
“[E]very school will offer a range of in-person learning options and services for students,” said DC Public Schools in a January 10th update.
A mid-December agreement between DCPS and its teachers’ union paved the way.
The plan is for a partial return. Not all students will be offered a seat, and those who are given a chance to return to the classroom have the option of continuing virtual instruction instead. Elementary schools will also continue to staff CARE classrooms, which are supervised spaces for virtual learning.
An email to DCPS families said each school will be able to serve approximately 30 percent of their students in person.
DCPS is hosting a telephone townhall with Chancellor Lewis Ferebee on Wednesday, January 13th. And tonight at 7 p.m., Mayor Muriel Bowser is the guest speaker at a Ward 3 Democrats meeting co-hosted by the Ward 3 Wilson Feeder Education Network (W3EdNet). Watch the live event or a recorded playback on Facebook (you don’t need an account to view it).
Mark Moran, a volunteer contributor to Forest Hills Connection, has been writing for us about the debate over how and when to reopen the District’s public school buildings to students and staff. On January 1st, a piece he wrote was published by a slightly larger publication.
“When it comes to the opening of schools during a pandemic, D.C. leaders appear to have skipped the class,” he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
He wrote about teacher and parent complaints last fall about DC Public Schools’ lack of transparency and failure to consult with the people who know the schools and students best: principals and teachers.
Moran also notes that there are no easy, one-size-fits-all solutions. What might work in one school might not in another. He cites an American Prospect article which “…dissected the nuances and ambiguities in [reopening] studies, and the difficulty with generalizing findings to urban school districts serving populations disproportionately affected by chronic conditions that make them vulnerable to the coronavirus.”
Moran ends with this:
“… schools will almost certainly need additional resources and support to make those plans work. Certainly, D.C. should complete an independent verification of the safety of school facilities as a way of building confidence and trust. When it’s time to open the school doors, consult with the people who know how to make it work and care the most: principals, teachers and parents in the community.”