It was decided on March 16 that all District of Columbia Public Schools would close their doors at the beginning of spring break to the end of the month. Children who rely on school meals will be directed to various pick up spots throughout the city to ensure that those from low-income households are fed throughout the duration of Covid-19-related shutdowns. Starting March 24, public school children will learn remotely from their homes.
Initially, district schools were reluctant to close due to concerns that children who rely on school meals would have to go without them.
The nation’s capital already has a DC Free Summer Meals Program that serves low-income children between June and August. Although lessons will not take place on school grounds, meals will be available at several campuses for pickup between March 16 and March 31.
District of Columbia school children were either sent home with prepared printed materials or will be directed to the DCPS Canvas website to download daily lessons. This sets an unprecedented record of digital learning both within the District and the 50 states. Chancellor Lewis Ferebee stated that school leadership already prepared a contingency plan to deal with the possibility of looming school closures. Additionally, there will be no school-sponsored extracurricular activities, field trips, or after-school programs.
District parents will face challenges, as many Washington employees are still tasked with continuing to report to their work sites in the public and private sectors. Many day care providers must contend with overcrowding, as well as licensing restrictions on how many children they can care for.