EducationLocal

DCPS Faces Backlash for Reopening Plan

D.C. Public Schools are preparing for some students to return for in-person learning in the coming days, but some have voiced concerns about the safety of such a move as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

D.C. Department of Public Works Director Chris Geldart said additional medical staff will be added to beef up the school system’s “arsenal” of safety procedures,” WJLA-TV (Channel 7) reported.

DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee said via social media the selected families for the in-person learning were notified this week, ahead of term two, which starts on Nov. 9.

Ferebee said students who received priority for the in-person instruction are at-risk, require special education or are English language learners. The chancellor noted seats may not be available for all students who need to be placed for in-person learning in term two.

“If we were to take the sum of those student populations, it exceeds the number of seats we’re able to offer at this time, based on our structures and planning and the need to cohort students,” Ferebee said.

While Ferebee and other DCPS staff addressed parents online Wednesday, teachers and faculty protested outside Boone Elementary School in Southeast, including Marlon Ray, the school’s director of strategy and logistics.

“People are going to die coming in here,” an emotional Ray told WJLA. “I’ve been here for 14 years. … Not on my watch.”

The next town hall meeting on reopening is scheduled for Nov. 4.

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