DCPS plans to “Reopen Strong” starts with teacher and staff vaccinations

On a bitter cold Thursday evening in the District of Columbia at Dunbar High School, more teachers and DCPS staff members line up to receive their first round of vaccines. 

Mayor Bowser moved District of Columbia Public and Public Charter School teachers to the top of the list to receive vaccinations. DCPS partnership with D.C. Health and Children’s National Hospital will allow for more than 3,900 in-person learning DCPS teachers and staff to receive their first dose, which started on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. 

Reporter Abigail Hillerich at WDMV states, “480 staff members lined up to receive their vaccine on Tuesday at Dunbar High School.” Today,
DCPS teacher, Ms. Jones, shared her concerns about COVID-19 and students returning to the classroom. “I have some mixed feelings…If it wasn’t for the work that I do, I would not be one of the first nor the second individuals taking the vaccine,” said Jones. 

Among Ms. Jones’ concerns for herself and her fellow DCPS teachers and staff being some of the first to receive this vaccine: unvaccinated students, safety around class schedules, and having proper P.P.E. were other significant concerns. However, Ms. Jones mentioned Mayor Bowser’s and the Teachers Union’s efforts to prepare the classrooms and other school facilities meeting C.D.C. and OSHA guidelines. 

Questions surrounding distance learning, student attendance, and student mental health status are components that propel school administration to expedite returning students to the classroom. In response to being asked whether she thought students were ready to return to the classroom, she stated, “Socially and emotionally, they [students] want to return, but public health, public safety; that is still questionable whether or not students need to return because they are not protected nor are families.” 

Ms. Jones also stated that some students with behavioral issues have flourished during distance learning without the classroom’s distractions. 

Parents who have chosen their children to participate in in-person learning are expected to return as soon as Monday, February 1, 2021. The second dose of vaccines for teachers and DCPS staff are scheduled to be administered on February 15th and 20th. 

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