Students across the District are seeing new Microsoft Surface Go devices such as laptop tablet hybrids in their classrooms as part of the Empowered Learners Initiative (ELi) announced by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. (DCPS photo)
Students across the District are seeing new Microsoft Surface Go devices such as laptop tablet hybrids in their classrooms as part of the Empowered Learners Initiative (ELi) announced by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. (DCPS photo)

District of Columbia Public Schools and the Washington Teachers’ Union reached an agreement Thursday to return to classrooms possibly as soon as Feb. 1.

The union wanted and got increased transparency around walk-around facilities and the chance for school community members to verify school buildings are set to reopen.

The agreement will be in effect through the rest of the 2020-2021 school year or through the end of the public health emergency, whichever is sooner, the WTU statement said.

“D.C. teachers miss our students and recognize that many have struggled to adapt to distance learning,” WTU President Elizabeth Davis said in a statement. “Reopening our schools won’t be a return to normal; we are committed to finding ways to best support our students who have struggled the most during the pandemic.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser praised the agreement, saying it will lead to in-person instruction in time.

“The road ahead is long, and there is much learning loss to be made up for, but this agreement brings us another step closer to getting our students where they need to be — in the classroom, surrounded by educators and friends, feeling challenged and loved,” the mayor said.

As of Friday, D.C. has 26,104 coronavirus cases and 728 virus-related deaths, according to city statistics. Of the total number cases, 2,461 were among those 18 and younger.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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