Chairman leaves “DCPS Reopening Act” off of council meeting agenda


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — D.C. Council Committee of the Whole meets on Tuesday, November 17, for an additional legislative meeting, during which the council will discuss emergency legislation. One piece of emergency legislation, the D.C.P.S. Reopening Act, will not be on the agenda.

The legislation was brought forth by Councilmember Elissa Silverman on Thursday, November 12. The idea behind the legislation is that D.C. Public Schools and the Mayor would be required to report detailed plans regarding reopening schools weeks prior to the planned reopening date. Councilmember Silverman explained, “We need to have a better understanding so everyone knows what to expect.”

D.C.P.S. has been working to get students back in school for months, and it’s a process Councilmember Silverman describes as chaotic. She explained, “A lot of parents especially, and teachers have been frustrated that we haven’t prioritized this conversation of how we are going to successfully get our students and teachers back to the classroom.”

As the council meeting is an additional legislative meeting, Chairman Mendelson had the option to approve or deny legislation on the agenda. In explaining his decision to leave Councilmember Silverman’s legislation off, he said, “We’re talking about quality of teaching and where the council has an important role is in oversight, that’s not legislating.” In response, Councilmember Silverman said, “If the council’s role is oversight, then let’s understand how the care classrooms work and then make good decisions about moving to in-school learning.”

While Councilmember Silverman is disappointed her legislation will not be discussed before CARE Classrooms bring in students, she says she will push to have the conversation in the future.

Chairman Mendelson said D.C. Council will be having a hearing with D.C.P.S. on December 2 to discuss the reopening plans further.

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