Muriel Bowser

DC School Year to Start Aug. 31; Youth Employment Program to Be Virtual

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D.C.’s upcoming school year will start Aug. 31 and there’s no decision yet on whether classes will be taught in person or remotely, officials said in update Friday. 

DC Public Schools will start asking families and teachers for feedback on schedules starting next week, Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said at a mayoral news conference. A schedule is expected to be final by June or July. 

Draft plans reviewed by News4 called for staggered schedules, with students learning remotely for several days per week or for whole weeks at a time. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city can't give families certainty yet, due to the nature of the virus threat.

“We are following how this virus is moving around our city and our ability to contain it," she said.

The popular Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program will be 90% virtual, with online internships and learning sessions. Youth age 24 and younger can still apply. Go here for more info.

“The job they would be doing in person, they’ll be doing virtually,” said Unique Morris-Hughes, director of the DC Department of Employment Services. 

Summer school will be virtual for June 22 through July 24. 

D.C. will offer online summer camp through a program called Camp at Home. It will be offered to 5,000 youth, with packets for activities. 

Schools in the District are closed for in-person classes through an abbreviated academic year. A draft plan for next school year called for class sizes of 10 students or fewer and continued remote learning. 

A document obtained by News4 showed three scheduling options. The first option would have students at school for one assigned day per week, with virtual learning for four days. The second option would have students at school for two assigned days per week, with virtual learning for three days. The third option would have students in schools for a full week every third week. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser shared the plans under consideration for reopening schools. News4's Mark Segraves reports.

The city has not forgotten its high school graduates, Ferebee said. “Joyful, student-centered” virtual graduation ceremonies are planned for June. 

Bowser announced the launch of what she called a major educational program. DCPS Persists will connect college-bound D.C. high school graduates with coaches who will help them advance. The program is the first “college persistence initiative" in the country that’s led by a public school system, Bowser said. Starting with the class of 2020, 750 D.C. students who are headed to college will be connected with coaches. 

D.C. will be ready to gradually reopen starting next week if coronavirus case numbers and other data continues to show improvements, Bowser said Thursday. Bowser said the start of a phased reopening appears possible on May 29. Reopening will be gradual.

"It is not an on-and-off switch. We will not be able to go back to life as we enjoyed it in February," the mayor said.

D.C. has had 11 straight days of declining community spread of the coronavirus. News4's Mark Segraves reports the mayor says if that trend continues through the weekend, the District could begin Phase One of reopening May 29.

And there was bad news Thursday for kids and anyone eager to go for a swim in a city pool: The mayor said she does not expect to be able to open pools until late summer at best. 

“It is just too difficult to be able to insure social distancing around our pools,” Bowser said. 

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

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