D.C. Public Schools will be all-virtual in the fall, the mayor announced Thursday after previously delaying an announcement of the city’s plans.
The continued spread of the coronavirus led the city to opt to conduct the start of the school year online, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
Classes for pre-K through 12th grade will be virtual for Term 1, Aug. 31 through Nov. 6. Bowser said she hopes students will be able to return to school buildings for the second term beginning Nov. 9.
Bowser said it would be next to impossible to return to classrooms without teachers' support, and the teachers union has been vocal they were not on board. The union said teachers want to be part of the decision-making process about when to return to classrooms.
Bowser acknowledged almost half the students in D.C. may not have the technology to learn from home. She urged parents to enroll their children and take the online survey to let the school know if the student needs a computer or internet access. Students without a device or internet access will be provided with the technology needed to participate in virtual lessons.
Special education services and English language support for students will also continue.
Charter and private schools are not bound by this.
The mayor and Chancellor Lewis Ferebee were expected to announce the plan for schools earlier this month. Instead, they said they wanted to wait two weeks to continue to monitor the spread of the virus.
“Safety will be paramount,” Ferebee said at the time.
The mayor and schools chancellor said on July 16 that the preliminary plan was to give families the option to take all classes virtually in the fall or split their time between in-person and remote learning.
The coronavirus continues to spread in D.C. The city announced another 58 cases earlier Thursday. More than 12,000 people have tested positive since the start of the pandemic and 584 residents have died.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.