D.C. Schools to Close 3 Weeks Early

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Hyde Addison Elementary School in Georgetown. Photo by Fritz Blakey.

The 2019-20 academic year for DC Public Schools will end on May 29, three weeks earlier than scheduled, announced Mayor Muriel Bowser at her daily press briefing on April 17. Charter schools will also close on or about that date. In the meantime, DC Public Schools teachers will continue to offer online instruction for all grades from kindergarten through high school.

“Since learning at home began, our online learning hub on Canvas has received more than two million page views,” the mayor said. “DCPS has distributed 16,000 mobile devices — iPads and computers — to some 5,000 designated hotspots. To date, 20 high schools have given out devices to 2,000 students. DCPS is planning to distribute 6,000 to 9,000 devices in all to students in middle and elementary schools.”

Some of the red-line requirements for grade advancement and graduation are being waived. DCPS will not require that every student attend school for 180 days per year. (The “180-day rule” is a quasi-national standard in the U.S., mandating fewer days than do most European and Asian school systems.) Community service requirements for graduation also have been dropped, as has the “Carnegie unit” formula (or “seat-time” requirement) for high school courses in which students were already enrolled.

“On May 15, we will be announcing the schools’ plans for summer,” the mayor continued. DCPS may offer summertime classes to make up for some of the three weeks of missed time, she suggested. It was not clear if schools would be opening on the normal schedule at the end of August. Information about actual student participation in the DCPS online classes was not available and questions remain about grade advancement for everyone.

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