July 17, 2020
Letter from the Mayor
This week, we had hoped to be able to provide students, staff, and families with our plans for the upcoming school year. However, we know that the situation with this virus is changing and volatile, and this week especially, we saw some trends in our data that are not ideal for making plans for the new school year. So, we are going to watch our public health metrics very closely over the next two weeks, and we will make an announcement about schools on Friday, July 31.
As we continue to monitor the data and plan the upcoming school year, we start with this value: Students are better served in their classrooms, with their teachers and peers. Of course, our top priority will always be the health and well-being of students, staff, families, and the community, and that is why we continue to monitor our health metrics closely. Our hope is that, if health conditions allow, we can give families a choice between all virtual learning or a hybrid of small group, in-person learning and learning at home.
Regardless of how we begin the school year, we are prepared to ensure students have the technology - both devices and internet access - they need to participate in virtual learning. Based on DCPS projections, if 40% of students in grades K-12 need a device, we will need approximately 36,000 devices to meet our needs, and we will have those devices ready. New devices will be data-enabled, meaning they will not need WiFi access to work, but DCPS will also have 3,500 hotspots to distribute (in addition to the 5,500 distributed in the spring). Additionally, OSSE received $3.3 million through the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund, authorized by the CARES Act, that will be used to provide internet to families with school-aged children. Households that have qualified for SNAP benefits this year will receive information about opting into a residential internet program.
We all recognize that these are unprecedented times. These are complex challenges that require us to be nimble and flexible. As we continue to monitor the data, we look forward to working with the entire DCPS community to meet the needs of our young people and ensure a successful school year.
A Heat Emergency has been activated in Washington, DC through Wednesday, July 22.
In This Week's Newsletter:
Our Shared Responsibility
Everyone in DC has a role to play in containing this virus.
When you go out, wear a mask and social distance. Make smart decisions about where you go. Remember: Just because you were invited to go somewhere, doesn't mean you have to go.
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DCTAG Deadline Extended
Reminder to students and families who plan to apply for a DC Tuition Assistance Grant: The deadline to apply for DCTAG has been extended from Thursday, July 23, 2020 to Monday, September 7, 2020.
Learn more at osse.dc.gov/dctag
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Take the 2020 Census
José Andrés is right: the 2020 Census is a tool for change.
Let's all use it.
Fill out the Census and learn more at my2020Census.gov
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