Mayor Bowser, DCPS Chancellor give specifics on reopening plans


WASHINGTON (WDVM) — An estimated 21,000 elementary schoolers are set to be back in the classroom in just over two weeks.

Since the announcement of reopening plans, DC Public Schools has been catching flack from parents and educators regarding the lack of specifics in the plan. DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee and Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed some of the topics the Washington Teachers Union and parents have been pushing for at a press conference on Thursday, October 22.

Chancellor Ferebee noted that there are many updates being made to school buildings to get them ready for students and ensure safety. These include plexiglass dividers, social distancing signage and personal protective equipment for students and staff.

The chancellor said the school system will offer on-site rapid testing for anyone who is symptomatic. He also said DCPS is spending $24 million to update school HVAC systems.

The HVAC systems have been a heavy topic when bringing up safety of the schools. Many parents and community members have brought up the idea of having walk throughs to see exactly what is being installed in the schools, to ensure the HVAC systems are actually updated and safe. Chancellor Ferebee responded to that idea. He said, “We believe that that is a government responsibility. It’s a responsibility of DCPS and our partners with DCPS. We also have identified contractors to complete the work, and there is an inspection process that goes after the work is completed.”

The school system has a meeting with DC Council on Friday, October 23, to discuss the safety plan in-depth.

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