Hundreds of elementary students will return to school buildings on Wednesday for remote learning under adult supervision. At “CARE classrooms,” as they are called, students will get free meals and recess, but they will not get to see their teachers in person. The teachers’ union and DC Public Schools have yet to reach an agreement on the reopening plan, but might as early as Tuesday.
DCPS has the capacity to seat 600 students. As of Friday, 400 families have signed up for a spot and are expected to send their kids to school buildings on Nov. 18. Twenty-nine schools are hosting children, with some campuses opening more than two classrooms. Wards 6 and 8 have the most schools hosting CARE classrooms, with 6 each, and Wards 1, 3, and 5 have the least, with 2 each. (Ward 8 has been hit hard by COVID-19, seeing the highest percentage of deaths, while Ward 3 has been hit the least, seeing the lowest percentage of deaths and reported cases.) DCPS invested a lot of money in its safety measures, over $31 million, and plans to expand its CARE classrooms after Thanksgiving.
“The driving factor right now is the staffing at that particular school,” says DCPS Chancellor Dr. Lewis Ferebee, when asked about school selection. “In this first phase, we are only using the staff at that particular school and utilizing partners.” (Originally, DCPS was pulling staff from middle and high schools, much to the chagrin of those school communities.)
Under legislation introduced by At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, students would not be able to return to campuses because of the city’s rising cases. The bill says in-person learning can only continue if “[n]one of the District’s reopening metrics are in Phase 0/1 levels.” As of Tuesday, two metrics were in the red: the daily case rate and transmission rate.
Not on Tuesday’s legislative agenda? Silverman’s bill. Chairman Phil Mendelson refused to agendize it, arguing the bill is not well developed nor was it done in consultation with the executive. Silverman refutes this.
The Washington Teachers’ Union supports the bill. President Elizabeth Davis tells LL she is disappointed with Mendelson. “I am questioning his leadership right now,” Davis says. “Questioning whether he might be out of step with what it means to have oversight. I believe he has given far too much authority to agency leaders, and particularly DCPS’ chancellor.”
It’s the latest Mendelson-Silverman schism. Read the full story online.
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- As of Nov. 17, D.C. reported no additional deaths but 245 new positive cases. Just last week, D.C. saw its highest one-day increase since May 21, at 206 new cases. The total number of infections is 19,039. [EOM]
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- Amid rising cases, Fairfax County Public Schools delay in-person instruction for more students. [Post]
By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
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As the number of COVID-19 cases surpasses 11 million nationwide, District officials have countless consequential […]
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The Phillips Collection wants to see 2020 from your lens, it has declared in its […]
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By Emma Sarappo (tips? email@example.com)
- The NBA draft will take place tomorrow—virtually, of course. The Wizards have the No. 9 overall pick, which is the same position they picked last year to select Rui Hachimura. [CBS Sports, Bullets Forever]
- Maryland basketball will begin its season on Nov. 25 against Old Dominion University. [Testudo Times]
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By Kelyn Soong (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)