We believe that the best place to engage students in their education is in the classroom.
11/12 update: CARE Classrooms will open at select schools on November 18. Read more on this update.
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.
The decision to take this significant step and plan to reopen our elementary schools is guided with safety and equitable access top of mind. It is our hope to allow more students, especially those furthest from opportunity, to return to school buildings and receive the critical supports that prepare them for lifelong success.
To determine the best way to welcome staff and students back into our schools in Term 2, it was our priority to:
- Provide a safe and supportive learning space for our youngest learners — where we see more challenges with virtual learning.
- Offer in-person instruction for students with known opportunity gaps to mitigate learning loss.
- Maximize learning time and maintain the integrity of the instructional program for all students — whether at school or home.
For our elementary school students in grades PK3 and PK4, as well as K-5, this means they have two opportunities to return to school, and the availability of each option is staff dependent.
We recognize returning to school may not be the preference of every family. Learning at home will still be available for all DCPS students from Pre-K through 12th Grade.
To ensure continuity with semester schedules and consistency in grading practices, all 6th-12th grade students will continue with the learning at home model through Term 2, with a possible transition to in-person learning at the start of Term 3.
Information for Elementary School Students in Term 2
All classroom spaces will meet social distancing requirements. Each classroom may enroll up to 8 students in PK3, 10 students in PK4 and Kindergarten, and 11 students in grades 1-5.
In order to prioritize safety and maintain consistent cohorts, DCPS will not offer before- or after-school (DCPS-led OSTP or partner-led) programming when students begin to return to PK-5 classrooms.
11/2 update: In-person programming will not begin at the start of Term 2 on November 9 as planned. We are still taking steps to reopen and will begin by opening CARE classrooms as soon as staffing plans are confirmed. Families who already accepted an in-person learning seat will have the option to join a CARE Classroom first. Then, we will outreach to additional families with seat offers. We will be in contact with families directly on next steps.
1. In-Person Learning Classrooms
Across all DCPS elementary schools, one classroom per grade will have a teacher leading in-person instruction for a small class of up to 11 students. The daily schedule will be similar to a typical school day. Additional teacher-led classrooms will open specifically for students receiving special education services prioritizing seats in self-contained classes.
2. Student CARE Classrooms
CARE stands for “Canvas Academics and Real Engagement.” In these small-group classrooms, students will have supervised care for the school day from a caring adult who is not their teacher. Students will have the benefit of being with their peers at school but will participate in lessons virtually on a computer.
For both at-school options, we will prioritize classroom seats for our elementary students with the highest need based on current enrollment information through a randomized selection process. These priority groups are:
- Students experiencing homelessness
- Students who receive special education services or who are English Language Learners
- Students who are designated as At-Risk
- All other enrolled students
Siblings attending the same school will receive a preference in the process to keep them on the same schedule, where possible. We will also guarantee seats for children of teachers and staff who are working in person if their child is enrolled in a DCPS school.
We recognize returning to school may not be the preference of every family. Learning at home will still be available for students from Pre-K through 12th Grade.
Page updated: November 2, 2020