Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Oct. 18

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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A group of teachers for D.C. Public Schools rallied over the weekend to voice their concerns about a plan to go back to in-person instruction in November.

School officials recently announced that D.C. elementary students in grades Pre-K through 5th grade would return to in-person learning starting Nov. 9.

"Through multiple layers, we are very confident that we’ll keep all of our students and staff protected and healthy,” DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said.

"The term two reopen plan gives families and students a false sense of hope for returning to our classrooms," one woman said at a rally Saturday at Ft. Reno Park.

“We have to think real seriously about how much risk were willing to put our kids in,” said Chisda Magid, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School.

Temperature checks, mandatory masks, sanitizing, and medical-grade air filtration with UV microbial protection are all part of the school system's plan to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But some say the precaution of having teachers move so that students can stay put in those cleaner environments poses its own set of problems for instruction.

“Anybody who knows classroom management will tell you, having me go into somebody else’s room does not necessarily mean those kids are going to get what they need," Eaton Elementary School teacher Angelo Parodi said.

The Fairfax County School Board met for upwards of five hours Thursday night, and members butted heads on a "concurrent return" model to bring students back to class. News4's Jackie Bensen breaks down a newly proposed pilot program that is drawing some criticism from the board.

Schools will also have what they’re calling “care classrooms” in which students take virtual classes under the supervision of an adult.

Some teachers said they didn’t get enough input when the school system formulated its plan to return to the classroom.

“I love my babies. I've been teaching for 30 years. I love them to death, but I cant teach when I’m dead," Woodrow Wilson High School teacher Tina Bradshaw-Smith said.

Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia:

What the Data Shows

D.C. reported 36 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no additional deaths. Maryland reported 530 more cases and no additional deaths. Virginia had 900 more total cases, some of which were probable but not confirmed. 

The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 100,000 residents.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

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How to Stay Safe

There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:

  • Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
  • Always cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
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