Washington, DC, will not reopen school buildings this fall – Education Week

30July 2020

WASHINGTON (AP)– Public schools in the nation's capital will open this fall with full-time computer range knowing, as officials have abandoned their preliminary strategies to use a combination of range and in-person instruction.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's announcement Thursday was extensively expected as all surrounding school districts in northern Virginia and southern Maryland had already made the same choice.

Bowser had initially prepared to utilize a hybrid design with a lot of students participating in classes inside school buildings 2 days per week. But in the face of recently rising COVID-19 infection numbers, an arranged mid-July announcement of the hybrid plan was quickly delayed minutes prior to the press conference.

Paul Kihn, Washington's deputy mayor for education, stated the school district had obtained input from thousands of parents.

“Overwhelmingly you asked us to focus on health and wellness,” he said.

Bowser stated the decision was due to a mix of infection metrics, parental concerns and opposition from the instructor's union to opening up public school buildings.

The Washington Teachers' Union, which had been promoting the Twitter hashtag #OnlyWhenItsSafe, stated in a Thursday tweet: “DC Teachers want to return to in-person learning, if health and wellness issues are dealt with to make sure the health of our teachers, trainees and neighborhoods. In the meantime, we're dedicated to ensuring fantastic virtual learning for our trainees.”

The range learning model will be in place for the whole first term, which ends on Nov. 6. Bowser said they still hoped to move to the hybrid design for the 2nd term, starting Nov. 9.

After stating they had actually successfully blunted the infection curve in the city previously this summertime, health authorities say the infection numbers have slowly crept upward, reaching triple digits last week for the very first time because early June.

Bowser had taken a variety of unprecedented actions in response, including making face masks mandatory outdoors for many people and declaring that anyone visiting or returning to Washington after unnecessary travel to an area considered a location should quarantine for two weeks.

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