Re-open DC schools
Re-open DC schools
After you've signed, visit opendcschools.com to stay up to date on what we're doing to #OpenDCSchools and to get involved.
A preponderance of evidence shows that schools are not major drivers of the spread of COVID-19. With proper safety precautions, students in the classroom are not at significantly elevated risk of contracting the virus, and neither are their teachers, school staff, families, or community.
Being out of school is terribly damaging to children. A recent report from UNICEF found both that “school closures did little to slow the spread of the virus,” and that “the longer schools are closed, the more children suffer from extensive learning losses with long term negative impacts, including future income and health.”
Local data shows this impact on our own community. In August, DCPS found a decline of 11% in the number of K-2nd graders meeting literacy goals after six months without in-person classes; that number is now 22%. How much worse will it be after a full school year has passed without it?
Inexplicably, bars, restaurants, gyms, and salons have remained open even as our children are allowed to fall further behind. Bars and restaurants, in particular, are drivers of community spread. Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Ferebee, and DCPS and DCPCS teachers and staff, are charged with ensuring every child will reach their potential in a nurturing learning environment. Instead, they’re sacrificing this city's children's futures in exchange for pedicures and cocktail hours.
School closure is an issue of equity. For families with means, school is still in session because private schools are open and, it should be noted, operating largely without incident. And so, in the same city, facing the same epidemiologic profile, the answer to whether or not your child will be educated depends on whether or not you can afford it.
Therefore, as parents of DCPS and DCPCS students, we demand the following:
- That Mayor Bowser prioritize reopening schools over inessential services like restaurants, bars, salons and gyms. Many of these businesses are operating at a loss because of occupancy restrictions, so provide them support to temporarily shutter their businesses, keep their employees safe, and protect our community;
- That the Washington Teachers’ Union negotiate in good faith. Enumerate requirements based on science, not fear, for teachers' return to the classroom, and then honor your commitment to our children when those requirements have been met;
- That Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Ferebee meet the Washington Teachers’ Union's requests without further delay, including detailed, written COVID safety protocol for each school; and
- That teachers who meet the demand for in-person learning be rewarded appropriately. Doctors, nurses, mail carriers, grocery store managers, and other essential workers have been back at their jobs for months. If teachers believe as we do that their positions are essential, then all parties should behave in a manner befitting that designation.
Enough is enough. Remote learning is failing our kids, and they deserve better.
Mayor Bowser, Chancellor Ferebee, Chairman Cruz, Superintendent Young, and teachers: You must reopen the schools.