Graphic by Madison Dias
DCPS has waived the graduation requirement of 100 community service hours for the class of 2021. The decision stems from concerns about students being able to safely complete the required hours.
Typically, completing 100 hours of community service is mandatory for all students to graduate, however DCPS determined that students could not be expected to fulfill this requirement amid the extenuating circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, community service requirements were similarly waived for the class of 2020.
Despite discarding community service requirements two years in a row, DCPS still encourages students not graduating this year to continue working towards the 100-hour quota. The DCPS website offers a host of virtual community service opportunities for students, in addition to some socially distant options.
DCPS urges students who have recently earned any community service hours to log those hours with their counselor as soon as possible. Schools recommend that students turn in their hours within 30 days of earning them.
Students have different responses to this new development. Senior Simon Rhodes, for example, is glad to see the requirement gone. “I’m feeling pretty relieved, I only had 24 hours, so that is a huge weight off my chest,” he said. However, he does think that although removing the requirement was a necessary decision, “given the uncertainty about how long the pandemic would last,” it does seem like a waste of the community service hours students have already completed. “I feel sorry for the people who did them,” Rhodes said.
Senior Emma Harris has completed over 100 community service hours yet is in favor of the waiver, “it’s been a lot harder to find opportunities over quarantine and it’s important to be more forgiving about things like that right now.” Harris shares that though the requirement has been waived, “it shouldn’t stop people from completing community service if they get the opportunity to.” She also notes that most colleges “like to see that [students] have a good amount done.”