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DC Public Schools Welcomes Back Students to Strong Schools for First Day of 2022-2023 School Year

Monday, August 29, 2022

(WASHINGTON, DC) — Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee welcomed back nearly 50,000 students for the first day of class of School Year 2022-2023. After more than two school years of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertain challenges, DC Public Schools remains focused on creating joyful and rigorous learning experiences to accelerate student success.

“We are excited to welcome back our DCPS students and staff as we embark on another school year,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. “Over the last two school years, we have seen the resilience of our students by overcoming numerous challenges and rising to the occasion. As we begin this new school year, we’ll continue to prioritize the needs of the whole child and every student’s academic, emotional, and social development with the goal of sustaining excellence.”

Participation in Test to Return

Earlier this month, Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Ferebee announced that every student and staff would need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before the start of the 2022-23 School Year. DCPS K-12 families were asked to administer their student’s test and upload their test results on Sunday, August 28. 

As of Monday morning, more than 35,000 DCPS students and staff uploaded their test results through the DCPS Strong COVID-19 testing portal before the first day of school.

Pre-K families are reminded to administer their student’s test on August 31 and upload their test results the same day to before Pre-K classes start on September 1

Modernized Schools for SY22-23

DCPS is proud to announce the completion of three new school facilities that will enhance the learning experience for our students.

  • Historic Randle Highlands Early Learning Center (Ward 7) – The modernization of the historic Randle Highlands building allows the school to become a DCPS Early Learning Center for infants and toddlers ages 0 to 3 that will be managed by a community-based organization.
  • School-Within-School @ Goding (Ward 6) – The modernization at School-Within-School will enable the Reggio Emilia programming to be fully realized and increase the school’s capacity to 350 students.
  • Smothers Elementary School (Ward 7) – The modernization at Smothers adds additional classroom spaces, incorporates new outdoor learning and play spaces, and expands the approximate existing 43,400 square feet to 66,100 square feet.

Health and Safety Measures and Immunizations for Students

For the 2022-2023 School Year, DCPS is continuing a layered strategy for limiting the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in school buildings:

  • Masks are optional within our schools. We will foster an environment where all students and staff, whether they choose to wear a mask or not, feel respected.
  • All students and staff need to provide a negative COVID-19 test for the first day of school.
  • Families and staff will be notified if a positive COVID-19 case is reported in their classroom.
  • We will continue our investment in our HVAC systems to support well-ventilated spaces at every school. This includes state-of-the-art HEPA filters in classrooms and air quality sensors throughout the building.
  • Families should screen their children for symptoms at home.

District law requires students in all District of Columbia schools, to be fully compliant with required vaccinations to attend school, and that schools verify immunization certification for all students as part of enrollment and attendance. All students must be up to date on their immunizations or risk being removed from school.

Families are encouraged to make an appointment with their family doctor or visit any of the free pediatric/vaccination clinics the District of Columbia has to offer and have them complete the DC’s Universal Health Certificate for SY22-23 and submit to their child’s school.

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