DC Public Schools Drops Plan to Reopen for Some Students on Nov. 9

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D.C. Public Schools has dropped its plan to bring some elementary students back into schools starting Nov. 9, the district’s chancellor announced Monday. All students will continue online learning. 

“We have heard feedback from many in our community about #ReopenStrong plans, and we will use this moment to adjust our timeline and staffing plans for reopening,” Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said in a message to families. 

Some elementary school students were set to return to schools on Nov. 9, with some in small groups with a teacher and others in Canvas Academics and Real Engagement (CARE) classrooms. The CARE groups would be taught by a teacher working remotely and supervised by an adult who could be a high school or administrative staff member. 

The plan has faced major criticism from many teachers and parents. 

The Washington Teachers’ Union issued a no-confidence vote on Thursday in the DCPS plan. 

“D.C’s teachers spoke loudly and clearly; we do not have faith that the DCPS plans to reopen our schools are in the best interest of students,” WTU President Elizabeth Davis said in a statement.

Some union members took a mental health day on Monday to protest how DCPS had handled reopening. 

“The Teachers’ Union has indicated that teachers won’t show up. So we have to make some adjustments to the timeline,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. 

“We needed to take a stand to show DCPS that they have to work with us,” H.D Woodson High School history and government teacher Laura Fuchs said. 

Parents said they want to see a solution soon.

Many students are falling behind after schools closed in March, Ferebee said at a news conference on Oct. 22. He cited an “urgent mission” to meet students’ needs and set in motion a system of offers for families to choose whether to send students back to schools or to keep them home. 

Priority for in-person learning was given to students who are experiencing homelessness, have special education needs, are at risk or are learning English.

The near future does include some in-person learning. DCPS will roll out the CARE classrooms option. Details were unclear.

DCPS will hold a townhall Wednesday evening to address families’ questions. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.

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