DCPS cancels school through March


Photo courtesy of DCPS

Chloe Fatsis and Max Karp

DCPS is closing schools for the rest of March to help slow the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus. Spring break will now take place from March 17 to 23 instead of its original April date. During the following week, students will engage in remote learning. DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee notified the community of the schedule changes in an email this morning, March 13.

Teachers will be required to provide an alternative form of learning to students while schools are closed. 

“Because they’re going to be counted as instructional days even though we’re not in school, the expectation is that teachers will have to keep up their gradebook,” Principal Kimberly Martin said in an interview. “They will have to give meaningful assignments that they’re going to grade, and anyway that they can do some kind instruction in an online… way.”

Also on Friday, Martin said that a parent of a Wilson student had tested positive for coronavirus, the first reported case connected to Wilson. “I did today have to contact the Department of Health to confirm,” Martin said. She plans to notify the Wilson community soon.

When deciding whether to cancel school, DCPS took into consideration how cancellation could affect students who depend on their schools for services such as childcare and food. 

“While this decision was made to prioritize the health and safety of our entire school community, we understand it will be disruptive to our families,” Ferebee wrote. To address the needs of students who rely on free or reduced-cost meals, DCPS will provide meals to students from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at 16 schools around the city. Wilson was not listed as one of the designated food sites. 

Martin is unsure of whether the April 1 return date is final. “In their mind I think April 1 was just sort of an optimistic target, but obviously it’s dynamic and unfolding so who knows what will really happen,” she said.

Once schools reopen, students will not be permitted to participate in “athletics, extracurriculars, field trips, events, or afterschool programs.” Earlier this week, DCPS canceled all international and out-of-state travel until May 1.

The Beacon will continue to provide updates on COVID-19 and DCPS as the situation progresses.