For Immediate Release
December 17, 2020
Washington DC Teachers, DC Public Schools Reach Agreement to Reopen Schools
Memorandum outlines key conditions to promote a safe return to in-person learning
WASHINGTON – The Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) is pleased to announce an agreement with DC Public Schools on a Memorandum of Agreement that lays out conditions needed to return to in-person learning.
“DC teachers miss our students and recognize that many have struggled to adapt to distance learning,” said WTU President Elizabeth Davis. “Reopening our schools won’t be a return to normal; we are committed to finding ways to best support our students who have struggled the most during the pandemic.”
The agreement is effective through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year or through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, whichever is sooner. It calls for increased transparency around facility walk-throughs, ensuring that Local School Advisory Teams (LSAT’s), bodies elected to represent school communities, and other members of local school communities are able to verify that facilities are ready to reopen.
“The safety of our students, school –based staff, and communities must remain our top priority,” Davis continued. “As we move forward, it is critical that our individual schools are open about the work that has been done to ensure proper air circulation and other protections are in place in every school building before it reopens to in-person learning. We must take every precaution and build trust that we’ve done all that is possible to safeguard our communities.”
The MOA also lays out conditions to staff a return to in-person instruction. Under the terms of the agreement, DPS will administer to members of the WTU will respond to a survey with the options: “1) I am interested in returning to teach in person” and “2) I am interested in continuing Distance Learning.” DCPS will provide the WTU with data about the demand for in-person seats and, if family demand exceeds availability of bargaining unit members, DCPS may assign bargaining unit members for in-person instruction, for Terms 3 and 4, excluding staff who have been approved for leave or a virtual workplace accommodation pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the COVID-19 Emergency Support Act (CESA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the DC FMLA, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or any other applicable law shall not be required to teach in-person.
# # #
The WTU represents more than 5,000 active and retired teachers. It is dedicated to social and educational justice for the students of the District of Columbia and to improving the quality of support, resources, compensation and working conditions for the public servants and proud teachers who educate our students in D.C. Public Schools.