Statement to Members

To: WTU Members

Re: Transitioning to Virtual Learning / Test to Return Policy for DC Schools

From: Jacqueline Pogue Lyons, President

Date: December 19, 2021



Good evening –

Over the past week, our city has seen the number of COVID cases increase substantially and the city has entered a period of high transmission. On Friday, D.C. Health Department reported 844 new coronavirus cases, the highest case count reported throughout the entire pandemic. We’ve seen hundreds of students contract the disease.

I have been in constant communication with Mayor Bowser’s advisors, Members of the Council, and DC Public School Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. Earlier today, the Chancellor informed me that while a system-wide closure is not supported by Department of Health metrics several schools will be transitioning to virtual learning until the Winter Break. The Chancellor has additionally promised a daily review of case notifications to determine if additional schools should transition to virtual learning environments. DCPS will be announcing any school transitions to virtual environments as early as possible each day leading up to the Winter Break.

The WTU is also committed to ensuring that staff and students can also return safely to our schools in January. We have asked the Chancellor to implement a “test to return” program for all educators and students before we return to in-person learning in January. Details on this program are not yet available but we hope to be able to share them in the coming days.

We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable Winter Break. We know that these next few days will be trying given the surge of COVID-19 in our community. Please continue to reach out to your Field Representative with your questions and concerns regarding the number of COVID- 19 cases in your school. We encourage you to remain safe this week and throughout your holiday. Please watch for updates from the WTU and DCPS over the coming days and weeks as you relax and recharge over your break.

In solidarity,

Jacqueline Pogue Lyons, President

Washington Teachers’ Union


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