All DC Public Schools are closed for the rest of the year, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced in a press conference today. Students will continue with remote learning, and the school year will end early on May 29.
“Closing our school buildings has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in this pandemic,” Bowser said. “We know schools are a safe place. We are very focused on how we get back to school and how we do that in a safe way.”
DCPS students have been learning online since March 24. The District is working on ensuring students are properly equipped for distance learning, and is prepared to distribute up to 16,000 devices and 5000 hotspots. Devices have been distributed to 2000 high school students; DCPS is now working on distribution to middle and elementary schoolers. Schools are still providing meals for students who need them, and have served more than 162,000 meals.
There will still be summer school, Bowser said. Whether that learning will be in-person or remote has yet to be determined. The Mayor will announce a reassessment of the situation on May 15.
Bowser announced in March DC schools would be closed through April 24. Since then, the Mayor has extended DC’s stay at home order through May 15, and coronavirus has spread rapidly through the District. Currently, DC has 2476 total positive cases, and 86 residents have lost their lives to the disease. The level of infection in the city today is lower than initially projected, Bowser said.
There has been discourse across the nation about when to reopen schools. President Trump is currently suggesting individual states can reopen schools when they can show they’ve had a decrease in coronavirus cases for a month and there is widespread testing available. Many local governments are operating under an abundance of caution and will likely not reopen schools until the fall.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced in March all Virginia schools are closed for the rest of the year. Maryland schools are currently scheduled to reopen April 24, but Governor Larry Hogan will likely announce an alteration to that plan this afternoon.