Virtual Option for All Recommendations
The plan currently allows for virtual attendance only for students with a Medical Waiver based on very limited criteria; this approach fails to address quarantined students and the circumstances of many DC families during an evolving global pandemic and local public health emergency. All families need the option for their children to attend school virtually at least until they are eligible to be vaccinated or until the family determines that the benefits of in-person attendance justify the risks to their family. This approach will ultimately benefit those who attend school in person as well as those who learn virtually, as it will mean less transmission among those in school, fewer quarantines and closures, and less disruption of instruction. In addition, while student safety and family empowerment are most important, the virtual program should be as high quality as feasible, and where possible, offered through the student’s school rather than the District.
Additionally, as cases rise and students move into quarantine the students need to be able to remain connected to their programs, classroom teachers, schools and communities. This will be a long term need. Until COVID is under control, students and our schools must be able to offer a virtual option to anyone who requests it. The alternative to not providing a virtual option is that students fall behind in their learning and lose momentum in their long term educational goals. This is especially impactful on students in middle and high school where their curriculum is based on a 4 x 4 model and any delays in learning will derail a student's academic future.
The worst case scenario to offering families greater safety and more options is that children, teachers and the community remain safe and ALIVE.