DC Public Schools, teachers at odds over return to work order

The Washington Teachers’ Union has instructed its teachers not to respond to a letter from D.C. Public Schools seeking an answer as to whether they are comfortable returning to work in the fall.

DCPS sent a letter to its teachers Tuesday to provide details for reopening schools, which includes a mix of in-person and virtual learning, The Washington Post reported. Teachers were reportedly given two options: Return to work in-person, or a convoluted second response many teachers interpreted as them needing to take leave if they opt not to return to the physical school building.

The union told teachers to refrain from signing the letter until the second option is further explained.

WTU President Elizabeth Davis said in a statement:

“I was disappointed to learn that DCPS has sent teachers ‘Return to Work Guidance,’ prior to providing a fully developed plan for how we safely and effectively resume instruction in the fall,” said Elizabeth Davis, President of the Washington Teachers’ Union. “The WTU received these guidelines hours before they were released to the teachers and did not have an opportunity to provide meaningful feedback to the proposal.

Washington’s Teachers fully support efforts to return to in-person learning, but it must be done in a manner that protects the health of our teachers, students and communities.”

Davis asked that the return to work order be rescinded and requested more transparency and trust from Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools Lewis Ferebee.

Localities across the region are in the process of discussing plans for reopening schools. Prince George’s County, Maryland, recently fielded staff and parent comments on its proposals, and parents will be tasked with selecting a plan in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is WTOP's Senior Sports Content Producer, which includes duties as producer and host of the DC Sports Huddle, nightside sports anchor and sports columnist on WTOP.com.

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