DC council approves emergency COVID-19 proposal for students

The D.C. Council voted unanimously to approve an emergency proposal to ease restrictions for students to access virtual learning. 

The measure also loosens rules on attendance. Councilmember Elissa Silverman added an amendment that passed with the proposal. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: DC Council expected to introduce legislation that would expand access to virtual learning

It requires classroom level notification for a positive COVID-19 test -- a more granular notification policy than the current school-level notification requirement.

Mayor Muriel Bowser blasted the bill earlier this week calling it "unsupported by science." 

Council members were disappointed in the mayor's response. 

"I am disturbed that Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Ferebee see this bill and the measures that it puts in place as adversarial. The letter the mayor sent opposing the bill used very bombastic language, twice saying the bill disregards science and is unsupported by science. That is uncalled for bluster," said D.C. councilmember Elissa Silverman.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

Relatedly, in Montgomery County, parents urged the school board to implement its test-to-stay policy that would require students to take a rapid test with potential COVID-19 exposure. 

Students would be allowed to stay in the classroom with continued negative test results rather than be forced to quarantine. 

One parent said her daughter had already been forced to quarantine twice in September.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Most students in DC region plan to stick with virtual learning

But the test-to-stay program is still a work in progress. "Supports are also being put into place to lay the groundwork to be able to set up a test-to-stay program," said Dr. James D'Andrea, the Montgomery County Public Schools Chief of Staff. 

"At this point," he continued, "The Department of Health and Human Services is working collaboratively with MCPS to develop a plan that will then be reviewed by the state department of health. And the hope is that something will be implemented in the very near future. We should have more details in the next one to two weeks."