coronavirus

DC Schools Release Preliminary Fall Plan With Option of All-Virtual Or Hybrid Learning

Here's what we know so far about school reopenings in D.C. and across the region.

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D.C. Public Schools says that according to a preliminary plan families will be given the option for students to take all classes virtually this fall or split their time between in-person and remote learning.

After tracking "concerning" coronavirus data this week, it's still possible that school will have to be conducted all-online, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

The mayor and Chancellor Lewis Ferebee were expected to announce the full plan Thursday. But in a surprise announcement, Bowser said a decision on exactly what will happen will be delayed for two weeks, until July 31. 

“Safety will be paramount,” Ferebee said. 

Ahead of announcing specifics of D.C. Public Schools' reopening plan, schools Chancellor Lewis Farebee detailed some of the safety measures that would protect students who come into classrooms. News4's Aaron Gilchrist reports.

According to the preliminary plan, families will get to choose between all-online school and a mix of in-person and remote school. All families who opt to go all-online will be able to do so. But all requests for hybrid instruction may not be honored, depending on available space, Ferebee said. 

School will be virtual for all students on Wednesdays to allow for deep cleaning, according to the preliminary plan. 

Students in school part time will be split into an “A group” and a “B group.” 

Pre-K 3 and Pre-4 students in the A group will be in school Mondays and Tuesdays. The B group will be there Thursday and Friday. 

Kindergarten through fifth grade students will be there Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday, depending on their group. 

Sixth through 12th grade students will be there for just one day in person: either a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, depending on their group.

Teachers will likely be in contact with multiple groups of students.

The Washington Teachers’ Union wants a plan in place that fully takes into account teachers’ safety. Many teachers have health conditions that could make them more vulnerable to the virus, or have people in their households with health conditions. Additionally, about 40% of D.C. teachers live in Prince George’s County, where the school year will start all-online. Teachers with kids face major scheduling conflicts. 

D.C. is seeing a heightened rate of transmission of the virus, Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said. But “the District is still in a good place,” she said. 

Sources told News4 on Wednesday that students will be expected to be in class two days a week and learn from a distance three days a week

It looks like D.C. Public School students will be going back into the classroom for at least a couple days each week when classes resume in August. News4’s Mark Segraves reports on the learning plan and how long the District’s state of emergency will last.

D.C. schools have been closed since March 16, when the coronavirus began to grip the region. A Georgetown pastor was the first person in D.C. known to have the virus, officials said on March 7. He developed symptoms after attending a church convention in Louisville and later recovered.

Schools across the region are detailing their plans for the fall.

Prince George's County will conduct all-online classes in the fall, forgoing in-person classes at least through January. Read more.

Montgomery County schools on Wednesday said they are committed to starting school online on Aug. 31. Then, they'll assess the coronavirus risk to see when, or if, in-person classes could get phased in. Read more.

The superintendent for Arlington Public Schools said he will propose delaying the start of school and implementing full-time distance learning.

Fairfax County Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools families face a deadline on Wednesday to make their decision between all-online learning or a hybrid plan in which their children would go to school for a few days each week.

Prince William County will begin the school year online for most students. In-person schooling could return after the first quarter ends on Oct. 30. Read more.

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

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