Officials lay out COVID-19 safety plan for D.C. Public Schools

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia students will be back in the classroom on August 30. D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt held a press conference with other officials to lay out the safety plan for the upcoming school year.

In a 39 slide presentation, officials went over testing and quarantine guidelines as well as general guidelines for parents and students.

Schools will require masks for everyone, except for when eating, drinking and during Pre-K nap time. Social distancing will also be enforced as much as possible.

Staff have until September 19 to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or they will be subject to weekly testing. The schools will also be testing ten percent of unvaccinated, asymptomatic students each week to monitor the spread of the virus. Parents must sign a consent form in order for their students to be included in the testing.

Even with the plans from the Chancellor, D.C. Health and the Mayor, many parents are left with questions.

Former Parent Teacher Association President and D.C.P.S. parent, Sandra Moscosco, explained, “Beefing up the testing, getting that consent, making it clearer and really, truly pledging support (would make me more comfortable sending my child back to school).”

Moscosco also said she would like to hear a more thought-out plan regarding implementing safer lunch breaks for students.

Moscosco also brought up the lack of virtual option for parents and students. Chancellor Ferebee said about 150 parents submitted requests for virtual accommodations, with 98 being approved. He said there is no plan to widen the virtual option. However, parents are circulating a petition requesting a virtual option become available.

Chancellor Ferebee said, “We believe firmly that the best place, the most ideal place for our students is in the classroom. There are so many benefits — academically, socially and emotionally — that we can’t wait to get back to. We look forward to welcoming our students back to the campus on August 30.”

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