DC Public Schools details in-person learning and activities for the year

D.C.’s public school system has welcomed back thousands of students to its classrooms in recent weeks, but that only accounts for about 20% of its overall student population.

Now, the District of Columbia Public Schools is already charging ahead with plans to expand that number in the coming weeks.

But D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said there are no plans to transition more students from virtual learning to in-person classrooms before spring break in April.

“However, some schools will be considering expanding their in-person programming depending upon demand for their schools and that expanded in-person opportunities will begin in the fourth term which starts on April 19,” said Ferebee during a tele-town hall meeting held Wednesday night.

Where health and safety guidelines can’t accommodate for that demand, Ferebee said “we are partnering with schools for principals to propose options at which they could expand the in-person programming to offer more seats to students” from other schools.

Ferebee said he expects all D.C. Public Schools students to be back in the classroom for the start of the next school year, which begins this fall.

The wide-ranging town hall touched on other subjects as well; from how stressed-out and overwhelmed parents can get more academic help for their students to whether or not the city’s standardized tests, known as PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), would be administered this year with so many children still doing distance learning.

The answer to that one is: A request for a waiver is still pending, and it’s not clear if it will be granted or not.

On Friday night, D.C. schools announced that preparations related to PARCC have been halted, and the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) or ACCESS tests will not be administered this spring.

Ferebee said he wants to start the spring sports season as soon as possible: “That is heavily dependent on the determination from D.C. Heath on the health and safety status of allowing such activities to occur.”

He said “we’re hopeful that we will be able to offer some element of spring sports sometime this spring. We are currently also exploring options where we can extend into the summer,” not just the D.C.’s high school athletic programs, but other activities that normally occur during the school year too.

Watch the town hall session below.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report. 

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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