(Washington, DC) Today, DC Public Schools (DCPS) outlined the health and safety measures for students and staff returning to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 School Year. The updated guidance comes as DCPS prepares to fully reopen with in-person learning for all students, every day in the fall.
“We know that our students thrive best in our classrooms, and that is why we are excited to open fully for all students this fall,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. “We will work with our teachers, families and community to create a safe and trusting classroom experience where we will accelerate student learning. With collaboration, transparency, and a commitment to health & safety, we will ensure our buildings remain safe and healthy spaces for engaging and joyful learning experiences.”
To maintain a safe environment for in-person learning, DCPS will continue to prioritize facility readiness, operational planning, health and safety protocols, and ongoing monitoring:
- HVAC enhancements allow for well-ventilated spaces at every school, including state-of-the-art HEPA filters in classrooms and air quality sensors throughout the building.
- Practice safe routines: All staff, students, and visitors must wear a mask or face covering, and daily PPE and hygiene supplies will be provided.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols for high touch surfaces, and a deep cleaning completed after a suspected or reported COVID-19 case.
- Space arrangements: Students should be separated as far as possible, and individual desks and tables are to be facing the same direction to the extent feasible.
- Student meals: Pre-K and Kindergarten students will eat in the classroom and all other grades will eat in the cafeteria. Social distancing should be followed while eating and drinking, to the extent feasible.
- Student cohort interactions will be limited to the extent feasible, but there will be no cap for student or staff cohort interactions in any grade.
- Screen for illness: Students and staff will complete a daily “Ask, Ask, Look” screening, but temperatures will not be taken upon arrival at school.
- COVID-19 reporting protocols: Schools will report positive cases with a school community if a person has been in the building during their infectious period, along with a quarantine protocol. Additional information about asymptomatic testing will be shared over the summer.
Through these layered mitigation strategies, DC Public Schools will enhance student learning and protect the physical health and safety of the DCPS community. Schools will continue to receive detailed guidance to support guide the implementation of the adjusted safety measures. Families and community members will be invited to observe building readiness and new routines firsthand at safety walkthroughs taking place this summer.
To support students with a documented medical condition who need to continue learning virtually, DCPS will offer virtual instruction for a limited number of students who meet medical eligibility requirements. Consistent with a District-wide policy, families who need virtual learning must provide documentation of a medical need as determined by a health professional. DCPS will provide a rich online learning environment for students who need virtual instruction, including a technology device for those who require one. Families in need of virtual learning accommodations are encouraged to complete the registration process by July 6 to allow schools time to create fall schedules.
DC Public Schools encourages families to enroll for the upcoming school year and stay involved at their school over the summer months. Important updates will be available online at dcpsreopenstrong.com/sy21-22.