Frequently Asked Questions for Families about the 2020-2021 School Year.

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How will virtual learning look different in School Year 2020-2021 than in Spring 2020?

In virtual learning, students will feel loved by their school community, challenged by a joyful and rigorous curriculum, and prepared to take the next steps in their learning. We spent the spring and summer working with over 200 teachers and staff to transfer our curriculum to an online learning management system, which will allow for a more user-friendly, efficient and organized approach to virtual learning.

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Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

What will a student’s schedule look like in the virtual setting?

Pre-Kindergarten 3 and 4 (PK3 and PK4): Short, small bursts of learning and individual learning activities are most effective for our youngest learners. Therefore, the PK3 and PK4 structure of the day will include lessons in small groups focusing on developing a love of learning, and individualized lessons that families can also join. The PK3 and PK4 schedule will also include asynchronous (watch videos on your own at any time) lessons for art, music and other skills so that families can access lessons when it works for their children. PK3 and PK4 students will have live learning and asynchronous lessons for an average total of about 2-3 hours per day.

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Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

What will my child need to be successful in virtual learning?

All students will need the following items for successful virtual learning:

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Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

What if I don’t understand the content that my child is working on or I have questions about lessons?

As a part of the DCPS schedules, teachers will have times they are available for individual questions and support. Each school will issue guidance on teacher communication and availability using newsletters, robocalls, and other platforms. If you have content-specific questions, contact your child’s teacher directly.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Communications

How will Individualized Education Plan (IEP) services be delivered during virtual learning?

Students with IEP and 504 plans will follow the same grade-level appropriate systems and structures as general education. IEP and 504 services will be delivered virtually in collaboration with teachers and parents. Teachers and parents of students with IEPs will collaborate on individualized distance learning addendums at the beginning of the school year. The addendums do not replace the IEP.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Special Education

Are DCPS teachers or staff able to offer babysitting or tutoring to DCPS students outside of virtual learning?

Although DCPS does not have a policy specifically addressing babysitting or staff tutoring of DCPS students, the general DC Government ethics rules have strict provisions regarding outside employment and conflicts of interest. Those provisions serve to prohibit staff members from tutoring or babysitting students of a school where the staff member is employed, prohibit staff members from advertising themselves as DCPS employees to make them more competitive for additional earned income, and prohibit the use of District government resources to advertise or promote any outside business activity.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

How will feedback be provided to students through grades?

DCPS believes that grades are in the service of ongoing learning, to provide timely feedback and personalized instruction, while making a record of growth and development. Student grades will be:

  • A measure of skills and knowledge from content taught and learned;
  • Based on standards-based evidence of student learning demonstrated in foundational course assignments and assessments;
  • Accessible and available for revision and improvement throughout the term; and
  • Provided frequently and accurately.
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Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Dismissal

What mental health supports will be provided to support student emotional wellbeing and perception of safety and connection?

School Mental Health Teams are supporting students at all levels of need including families who will have all-virtual related services. Students may initiate contact with school mental health staff. This is considered a self-referral and depending on age, may require parental consent. Parents, guardians, peers, and staff may also refer a student for services. Any staff person can facilitate an introduction to a member of the Mental Health Team if families or students are unsure who to speak with about a mental health concern or inquiry about services.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Mental Health

Are you supplying computers to students in need?

Yes! DCPS will ensure that every student who needs a DCPS-issued device for virtual learning will have access to both a device and internet for School Year 2020-2021. DCPS is accomplishing this goal through a comprehensive family needs assessment process. DCPS will provide devices to students who lack access in the home.

DCPS is asking all families to report their technology access in the DCPS Technology Survey at: dcps.tech/survey. You can also complete the survey by phone by calling your school.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

We don’t have internet access. How will my child receive lessons through the online platform?

DCPS will provide families who lack access to internet the support needed to connect through a hotspot or data-enabled device that will allow them to connect, free of charge. DCPS is asking all families to report their internet access in the DCPS Technology Survey at: dcps.tech/survey. You can also complete the survey by phone by calling your school.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

How can I enroll my student for School Year 2020-2021?

DCPS launched an electronic submission process for SY20-21 enrollment in the spring. The SY20-21 enrollment packet can be found here. For SY20-21, there are no changes in requirements for families, however, alternative methods for submitting the necessary documentation electronically are available. All families will still need to complete a DCPS enrollment packet, prove DC residency, and submit all documents to their school prior to the first day of school. For more detailed information on enrollment, please see our Frequently Asked Questions. As always, we are ready and eager to support you with any enrollment questions you may have, especially if you need help with the new electronic submission process. Please do not hesitate to contact your school or the DCPS Enrollment Team at enroll@k12.dc.gov or (202) 478- 5738.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Enrollment

Will immunizations be required for SY 20-21 in person attendance?

Beginning School Year 2020-2021, immunizations will be required for in-person attendance. Ensuring your child receives the right vaccinations at the right age is one of the most important ways to help them stay healthy and keep serious diseases at a distance. When we do return to in-person instruction, students who have not received their required immunizations will have 20 school days to provide immunization certification or they will be removed from in-person attendance and transitioned to virtual learning until the necessary immunization documentation is received. Please visit the DC Health website for a detailed schedule of required immunizations and this FAQ for more information.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Health

How can I tell if my child is on track with their immunizations?

Please contact your child’s health care provider for confirmation.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)EnrollmentHealth

Where can I take my student to get them immunized?

Please visit the Health Care Access Bureau’s website for a full list of DC pediatric immunization locations or visit DCHealthlink.com if you need access to health insurance. DCPS also has seven school-based Health Centers that are serving as immunization clinics this summer. Please use the following link to view the sites and location hours.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)Health

How will attendance be taken during the all-virtual learning at home period?

For learning at home, attendance will be recorded based on the student logging into Canvas, DCPS’ Learning Management System, each day between 6:00 am and 11:59 pm. Canvas participation will be transferred to a student’s Aspen attendance record on a daily basis. Teachers will monitor participation in live synchronous instruction as well as tracking successful engagement with online learning activities. If students need to miss a live synchronous class, they should communicate with a teacher about how to make up for missed learning.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

Will DCPS offer athletics?

On July 16, the DC State Athletic Association announced it has postponed interscholastic athletics in the 2020-21 school year until January 21, due to the ongoing public health crisis. Subject to final approval by the Mayor and DC Health, the DCSAA will resume playing seasons in the winter, with a condensed schedule to allow for the possibility that all sports may have a playing season during the school year.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)

How will I hear more from DCPS on operating status and access more information?

You can learn more at DCPSReopenStrong.com which will include information for families and a staff page. Please, visit dcps.dc.gov or sign up for text alerts or email updates.

Elementary (PK-5)Secondary (6-12)CommunicationsHealth