Limited Return to Schools for Some DCPS Students

Situational Update Report: November 16

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Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks during the Nov. 16 situational update. Screenshot: FacebookLive.

In the Nov. 16 situational update, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt and DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee discussed the return of students to in-person classrooms and the recent increase in COVID-19 cases reported in the District. 

 Phase One CARE Classroom Opening

DC Public Schools plan to open a limited number of classrooms for students to learn remotely in the classroom setting. On Wednesday Nov. 18, 29 schools will open their CARES classrooms, accommodating more than 600 students in the District. 

DCPS is prioritizing students who are considered high-risk, including those experiencing homelessness and who are part of the special education programs. The District is hoping to expand these offerings to more students later this year and in 2021.

Patient care technicians will support school-based healthcare protocols such as temperature checks and symptom screenings. CARE classrooms will continue their phased opening over the course of the coming weeks and will be based on family demand.

“In addition to the academic support that will be (provided) during this time, this is also an important time for students to socialize with their peers and engage in activities that support social and emotional development,” Ferebee said.

COVID-19 Cases

The District, like many areas in the nation, is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Today, DC reported 87 new cases bringing the District’s total to more than 19,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Over the past week, the highest proportion of cases reported came from the 25 to 34 age group which made up more than 30 percent of cases. Bowser said that this high proportion of cases in younger age groups serves as “a reminder of shared responsibility.” 

“The people who are becoming infected are not the same age group who are losing their lives to COVID,” Bowser said. “Ultimately, none of us know how the virus will affect us so we must do everything that we can to prevent exposure to the virus.”

Bowser reminded residents to continue to practice safety measures including wearing a face covering, limiting exposure to others by staying home, keeping a six-foot physical distance from others and practicing good hand hygiene. 

Bowser said this is “simply not the year” to host large gatherings with people other than those living in your household and emphasized the importance of making new, safer traditions this holiday season.

“It is highly recommended that DC residents only celebrate Thanksgiving with people who live in their home,” Bowser said. “Create different traditions and do not crowd around a common table.”

Bowser also addressed the influx of people returning to the District including young people returning from college. If an individual is returning from a state or country with more than 10 cases per 100,000, they must follow the travel advisory that states that they must limit daily activities and self monitor for 14 days or until they have a negative COVID test result, the mayor said.

Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected].