Healthy Routines at Home and at School

Healthy routines start at home.

The same safety steps we follow in our daily lives to protect ourselves from COVID-19 will take place at school. Practice healthy routines with your student like mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and daily health screening.

Wondering what the start of the school day will look like as we reopen? Watch a brief video for elementary school students about getting ready for the day, about arriving at school, and the school day itself.

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When we reopen school buildings in Term 2, we will require students and staff to practice safe routines. ​To minimize the impact of a positive case on the entire school, students will be grouped in cohorts that do not have close contact with other cohorts. Students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classroom. Classrooms will have scheduled, staggered arrival, recess, and dismissal times to limit interactions between classrooms.

We will also ensure necessary supplies are provided to schools, and that staff are trained to support new health and safety routines. Personal protective equipment such as masks will be available to all students and staff in a school building; there will be enhanced cleaning protocols; and anyone who comes to a school building will have to complete a daily health screening.

Read more about our preparations to reopen school buildings.


Ask, Ask, Look: Daily Health Screening

To prevent COVID-positive individuals from entering our campuses, all DCPS schools will have COVID-19 symptom screening procedures in place for staff and students. Parents and guardians are asked to proactively identify when their student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed by using the Ask, Ask, Look protocol prior to arrival each day.

  • Ask your child if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Ask whether your child has been in close contact with anyone who has COVID-19, including people in your household in the past 14 days.

If you answered, “yes,” to either question, the student should stay home, contact your healthcare provider, and follow your school’s attendance reporting protocol. Students and those in their household should also stay home if they traveled to a high-risk state or country for non-essential activities in the past 14 days.

If you answered, “no,” the student may attend school that day. Upon arrival, there will be a temperature check and a trained staff member will look for signs of illness such as flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.

Staff and visitors will also follow these steps before entering the building.


11/2 update: While we planned to offer in-person learning at the start of Term 2 for select elementary school students, this timeline will need to be adjusted. This means all students in grades PK-12 will now begin Term 2 on Monday, November 9 with learning at home. Read more on this update.

SY20-21 Immunization Requirements

 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. An up-to-date immunization record is required for in-person attendance for Term 2. 

Families who receive an offer for a classroom seat must have an immunization certification for their student submitted by their first day of in-person attendance. Students without documentation will not be permitted to attend school in person and will continue to learn at home.

To help students meet immunization requirements, School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) are open. SBHCs are located within a DCPS school and provide comprehensive primary health services to students, including vaccinations.  See below for a list of all SBHC locations, hours of operation, and contact information. Locations will be open throughout December.

Please call to schedule an appointment for your student today. If you have questions about your student’s immunizations, contact your medical provider and request a copy of your student’s immunization history or call the DC Health Immunization Program at (202) 576-7130.

Additionally, there are 64 immunization clinics across the city that are ready to respond to the needs of families to complete immunizations. Find a pediatric community facility location nearest you in this document from DC Health.

Page updated: November 2, 2020