DC Public Schools will begin with all virtual start to school year

D.C. Public Schools will begin the upcoming school year virtually. DCPS Chancellor Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday.

The virtual school year will begin on Monday, August 31, and will continue until November 6 for all students from pre-kindergarten to the 12th grade.

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Two weeks ago, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city needed more time to decide whether schools would go virtual based on science and health metrics, but today, she had a bit of a different take. 

“I wouldn’t say that attention to the health metrics is the only thing that is leading to our decision today we want to make sure that parents have confidence for in-person option," said Bowser.

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The decision was made after school families were asked in June to provide feedback on reopening plans. Health and safety, consistency and predictability, and having a choice between in-person and virtual learning were top on the list, Ferebee said.

As far as access to needed technology is concerned, a little over 5,800 kids don’t have access to a device, which includes laptops or a tablet, and then a little over 2,400 don’t have access to reliable high-speed internet. 

The school system says they are aware of this number and will be working on meeting that gap by distributing devices and hot spots over the next month.

Students and families can visit bit.ly/dcpstechsurvey to address these needs.

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Ferebee said that special needs students, English language support, and other services will still receive them during the virtual learning period.

Students will participate in live lessons, according to Ferebee, and teachers will be able to review student progress.

For younger students, a daily schedule may include time for play, snack, and breaks. Older students will follow a schedule with more time for instruction.


As for online attendance —there's no room for skipping school. The school system will be doing daily checks as students log on to the platform called “Canvas. “

For grading, kids in elementary school will receive a grade of a one, two, three, or four—based on their performance and engagement online.

Secondary school students get a letter grade of A or B—but if it’s anything less, they can choose to just receive a pass or fail.

“I do hope that for my daughter’s senior year that she will be able to have at least the end of the year be in person," said DCPS parent Frazier.