Reopen DC Taskforce Report


Washington DC Teachers Release Report to Safely Reopen Schools

Teachers outline ways to protect teacher and student health while improving distance learning


WASHINGTON — Concerned about the lack of teacher input into conversations about how we safely reopen schools in the District of Columbia, the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) released recommendations for how the District can work with teachers to ensure their safety and improve the education of DC students as the city reopens schools for instruction.

“The move to close our schools and move to Distance Learning in the spring was the right choice,” WTU President Elizabeth Davis said. “However, Distance Learning shined new light on the widespread opportunity gaps and the digital divide that plagues our city. As we move to reopen our schools this summer, we must do so in a way that protects the health of our teachers, students and communities while also investing in our technology infrastructure.”

The WTU convened a taskforce of more than 200 teachers to make recommendations that seek to ensure the health of teachers, students and families as the District resumes in-person learning this summer, against the general guidelines outlined in the city’s Reopen DC Committee report that recommends continued Distance Learning through Phase 3 of the reopening.

“We recognize the importance of reopening our schools as the first step in restarting our economy,” Davis continued. “We must do so with our teacher and other front line voices at the center of the conversation to prevent an increase in infections.”

The WTU taskforce also makes recommendations about improvements to Distance Learning, with the understanding that many students will not be able to return to school full-time in the 2020-21 school year due to social distancing requirements. To help improve student participation, the WTU calls for an increased investment of $11 million to ensure all DCPS students receive a computer or tablet in the District’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget.

The WTU report is available in its entirety here.

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  • Aisha Ahmad
    commented 2020-07-21 17:38:43 -0400
    Until they have a vaccine for the coronavirus if the children go back to school you put the children and the teachers and the parents in danger of sickness or possibly death.I realize we do not have a president that has common sense.We have never faced a pandemic that was this deadly in my lifetime .Listen to the scientist(Dr.Fauci) not people who are ready to sacrifice the lives of children and parents to save the economy.Online classes are the safest way of having school at the present time.
  • Torri Pierre
    commented 2020-07-15 08:56:01 -0400
    Distance learning until we have a vaccine. DCPS can’t keep soap in the bathrooms all year so I know my health will not be DCPS number one concern. It’s not fair to place anyone at risk for the Almighty Dollar or because pressure from non educators. I heard the Chancellor cabinet is filled with lawyers and influencers of Capitol Hill. If this is true then now it makes since why he is willing to let our librarians go and place educators in this awful situation of choosing students over our own health and safety.
  • Jeremy Singer
    commented 2020-06-26 10:07:34 -0400
    Absolutely agree with Christian. DCPS fails to provide basic cleaning supplies, repairs, etc… even during the best of times. This document basically shrugs it’s shoulders and tells teachers to come to poorly ventilated and maintained schools and hope DCPS does their part.
  • Christian Herr
    commented 2020-06-23 11:08:17 -0400
    This sums it up for me: " it is clear that our school systems, including the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), do not meet the criteria to fully reopen until a vaccine is developed and widely available. Despite these recommendations, the Washington Teachers’ Union is aware of the unique role that our schools play in the District’s ability to reopen our broader economy." So, we know that we’re not ready, but screw it – let’s open anyway. Thoroughly disappointed. What’s our acceptable casualty rate? How many student & staff fatalities are we okay with so that our kids can sit in a study hall one or two days a week? Full-time DL until we have a cure or a vaccine, period.
  • Gee Barzz
    commented 2020-06-23 10:10:33 -0400
    Full distance learning until there is a vaccine. How can you put people and their families in danger of contracting this virus? We cannot lose anymore lives for the sake of “being normal”. This is the new normal.