2022 graduates exempt from community service hours due to COVID-19

Alice Stillerman, Junior Editor

For the second year in a row, DCPS has waived the 100 community service hours graduation requirement for seniors. 

Last year the requirement was dropped due to COVID-19, with DCPS citing student safety concerns and the lack of in-person volunteer opportunities. “Due to health guidance, we recognize that most in-person opportunities are not currently possible,” DCPS said in a statement.

 This year, DCPS central office did not provide a reason as to why the mandatory service hours were waived, and instead only notified Jackson-Reed administration of the fact. “In the meeting they [DCPS] only told us they were waived, they didn’t tell us why,” 12th grade Assistant Principal Tiffany Goodman said. 

The exact reasoning was for the waiving of community service hours was unclear.

While in virtual learning, community service was not a requirement. Because of health and safety concerns, many students were more cautious or confined during shutdowns. Since the return to in-person school, case numbers remained high throughout various parts of the school year. 

Although the community service hours were waived for currently graduating seniors, the 24 credits needed to graduate for all seniors have not been changed and will still need to be met by all seniors in order to receive a high school diploma. 

The 100 required hours can oftentimes create lots of stress and anxiety throughout all four years of highschool. 

“Knowing that I had to get 100 hours and fill out a bunch of forms in order to graduate was always in the back of my head, and I felt guilty and anxious when I knew I was behind,” senior Sam Wood said. While waiving the hours did cause lots of relief for many seniors, canceling them so late in the year didn’t provide much help to others. 

“Since the pandemic is ongoing, they were waiting to make the decision, but announcing it so late [a month before they were due] seems a little pointless,” he said. 

All usual requirements still remain in place for next year’s graduating class. As of now, the 100 hours community service guideline will resume with the class of 2023. •