D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee visits Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Southeast on Feb. 6. (Courtesy of Ferebee via Twitter)
D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee visits Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Southeast on Feb. 6. (Courtesy of Ferebee via Twitter)

The parent of a D.C. Public Schools student voiced their frustrations with the District’s plan for reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic in a letter addressed to Chancellor Lewis Ferebee.

The anonymous parent, whose child is a pre-K student at Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Northwest, states in the two-page letter that as of Tuesday, their letter had collected more than 350 parent signatures representing more than 500 DCPS students, according to popville.com.

“As the parents of more than 350 DCPS students, we, the undersigned, write to express our profound concerns with the announced plans for a phased reopening of Washington D.C.’s public schools beginning on November 9, 2020,” the letter states.

The concerns stated in the letter include:

– The health and safety plan DCPS will be implementing to protect students, teachers, and staff from COVID-19 is vague and falls well short of plans adopted by other major school districts that have turned to in-person learning.
– The absence of deep, inclusive engagement and consultation with teachers and school administrators in developing, refining, and rolling out the latest reopening plans have led to confusion and a lack of buy-in and support from the District’s most critical employees.
– The community and trust-building progress that teachers have worked so hard to achieve over the past year and a half for pre-K learners are likely to be eliminated.
– The timing, content, and mode of communications have been extremely problematic.

The letter offers five recommendations, including delaying the start of in-person learning until February 2021 due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the region and the onset of flu season.

The letter also suggests the adoption of multiple outreach strategies, including email, phone and in-person visits to ascertain that vulnerable members of the community have been contacted.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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