The District is excited to welcome students, families, and staff back to school this fall for in-person learning, five days a week. We know that many students have spent more than a full school year physically apart from their teachers, classmates, coaches, mentors, and friends. And it is critical for the academic, social, and emotional wellbeing of our young people that we work together to open our schools and keep them open. To ensure a successful school year, public health officials and school leaders are preparing for a variety of scenarios and layering protections for students, families, educators, and staff.
“We know that in-person learning is best for students – not only academically, but also for their social and emotional well-being,” said Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn. “The District has been working closely with schools across the District to make in-person learning as safe as possible.”
All students and staff will be required to wear masks while inside school facilities, and Mayor Bowser recently announced that all DCPS staff will be required to be fully vaccinated, or be tested weekly and provide a negative test result. Additionally, all DC schools have robust plans in place for cleaning and disinfecting and have updated building operations and protocols with current health and safety guidance.
This summer, the District also began offering incentives for students 12 and up who get vaccinated against COVID-19. Newly vaccinated students can get $51 gift cards or AirPods at select sites. And all students who are vaccinated will be eligible to win a $25,000 college scholarship or an iPad and headphones in drawings that will begin later this month.
The Bowser Administration has also launched a new website – backtoschool.dc.gov – to make it easier for families to access all they need to get ready for school. From information on making appointments for required immunizations, to the latest health and safety guidance, this one-stop shop will help families feel confident about going back to school.
No matter what grade your child is in or where they go to school, the District is committed to ensuring a safe reopening, providing equitable supports and resources for student and staff well-being, and maximizing learning during the return to in-person classes.
If you do not have children in school, you can still do your part to support our young people by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Together, we can support our young people, crush the virus, and make this a successful school year.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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