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Wilson Reacts: DCPS decides to open all schools on time despite visit from Pope Francis


Pope Francis is visiting the nation’s capital for the first time. This historic event will result in up to 70 road closures across the city, public transportation delays of up to an hour and a half, and extremely crowded traffic. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has released a statement saying eight bus lines will not run for the duration of the Pope’s stay, and that dozens more will be detoured and delayed. The Office of Personnel Management called for federal agencies to allow teleworking. Schools including Gonzaga College High School, KIPP DC charter schools, Yu Ying Public Charter School and DC Prep Edgewood have all decided to close. Yet, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced last week  that all DCPS schools would remain open and that students and families should plan accordingly. How does the Wilson family feel about this?


  1. Brown, Wilson Parent

“I think DCPS should have a liberal leave policy, like the federal government, in place if they don’t close school altogether. I realize that closing the entire school system is a big deal but DC is a unique city and we need to be prepared for unique circumstances, which the Pope’s visit is. It will be very difficult for students to navigate the crowds, road, and bus closures and to deal with the overall frustration of getting to school only to have little or no quality instructions because there aren’t many teachers, administrators, or other students at school.”


Terrell Draper, AOHT Teacher

“Most of the students probably won’t make it on time or let alone make it at all, as well as half of the staff.  It is just going to be confusing, not just for the students but for the parents, teachers, for staff and just the city itself.”


Gregory Bargeman, Assistant Principal

“I believe that the day after the 1968 riots, they had school… so if they had school the next day after the riots we can have school if the Pope is here and people can create a route so they can go around to get themselves to school.”


Marie De-Messou, 12th grader

“I think DCPS should close school because I don’t think it’s fair to students who come out of boundary to get here… and also the kids who to take the bus and train [because] delays are going to be major problems… especially if you’re a senior and you only have two classes.”


Avery Crocker, 12th grader

“It’s really inconsiderate to those who are out of boundaries, especially out of boundary seniors… I live in Brookland and it is a 30 to 40 minute drive already, and by the time I get [to school it] may already be STEP and I only have one class then I have to go back to the struggle. It’s inconsiderate.”


John Belassario, 11th grader

“I think DCPS should close school because it’s going to be a lot of people and you know traffic will be hard for people to go to school.”


Claire Messina-Fitzgerald, 10th grader

“It makes me angry. I think it’s ridiculous; it is going [to] be very hard for kids to get to school on time or even at all. It’s going be hard for teachers to get here as well, and it is a Jewish holiday.”


Chase Palmer, 9th grader

“I don’t really know how I feel about it. I am Jewish; I may be at service that day anyway.”

Photo courtesy of Pete Souza

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