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

The D.C. Council is expected to introduce legislation that would expand access to virtual learning.

FOX 5's Melanie Alnwick reports that the move could set up a showdown with Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has remained firm that she wants nearly all students back in classrooms across the city this school year.

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If passed, students would only need to have a medical 'recommendation' to stay home for virtual learning, Alnwick reports. Those too young to be vaccinated can also go virtual if a family member is high-risk for COVID-19. Parents who keep their kids out of school for fear of COVID-19 will no longer be charged with unexcused absences.

Alnwick reports that in a letter, Bowser said this model will disrupt learning and further burden schools. D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson disagrees and believes the number of students who will take advantage of virtual learning would not be large.

The current virtual learning option is limited to students whose doctors say have a condition that 'requires' them to stay home - and only that student. Having a sibling or family member with a high risk medical condition does not qualify, Alnwick says.

There is a cost associated with more students in virtual learning but Mendelson said he believes the schools can absorb that expense.

Council plans to vote on the matter Tuesday.