Bowser Announces Updated COVID Guidance

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Bowser speaks during Monday situational update report. Screenshot: FacebookLive.

In the Monday situational update, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt discussed the vaccine rollout and announced updates to Phase Two of COVID-19 reopening.

Vaccine Appointments

This week, over 24,000 additional doses of the vaccine will be delivered to the District and distributed to health care centers, special initiatives and through the preregistration system.

In last week’s pilot of the vaccination preregistration program, about 14,800 appointment invitations were sent out and about 10,800 were confirmed. An additional 3,115 invitations were sent out Monday morning to fill the remaining appointments.

The next invitations will go out to preregistered individuals this Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Vaccine Eligibility

The District will begin vaccinating those in Phase 1B Tier 3 this week, including court staff and individuals providing legal service, postal workers, essential employees in local government agencies and public utilities and transit employees and individuals working in commercial or residential property maintenance.

Beginning March 29, the District will vaccinate those in Phase 1C Tier 2 which includes ride share drivers, individuals working for delivery service and essential employees in media and communication.

Additionally, beginning April 12, construction workers, IT employees, higher education workers and essential employees of federal government agencies will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Finally, on May 1 vaccinations will become available to all DC residents aged 16 and over.

Public Health Guidance 

Today, high school sports have resumed some in-person practices.

On March 22, many changes to phase two of reopening will be made including:

  • Some DPR playgrounds and indoor recreation centers will open at a reduced capacity
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be permitted as well as indoor gatherings of up to 10 people.
  • Group exercise classes may resume with up to 10 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors.
  • Professional sports teams my reapply to play and host fans in their stadiums on March 22.
  • Indoor dining will be operational at 25 percent capacity and alcohol may be sold until midnight.
  • Guided tours may also resume with capacity limits of 25 people per room and 250 people per floor.
  • Grocery stores may operate their buffets.

The public health emergency has been extended until May 20, 2021.

Updated DCPS Guidance 

Bowser and Nesbitt announced updated guidance for DCPS classrooms and staff. While these are not regulatory requirements, they are strongly recommended to minimize COVID exposure. The guidance included:

  • Use of cohorts and not mixing staff and students between cohorts
  • Serving meals in classrooms
  • Avoiding shared equipment
  • COVID screening onsite for parents, visitors and school staff
  • COVID positive test result must be reported to DC health within 24 hours.

Higher risk activities such as choir and band are no longer prohibited through DCPS, but are not recommended. Sports are also allowed to resume with low contact sports teams able to practice and compete and high contact sports able to participate in organized drills.

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]