Hyde-Addison to Reopen, Teacher-less, for a Few

Like every other District public school, Georgetown’s Hyde-Addison Elementary at 3219 O St. NW, completely renovated in 2019, has been closed since mid-March due to the pandemic. DC Public Schools canceled scheduled hybrid opening dates in September, then in November. On Nov. 30, at the last 2020 meeting of the Georgetown-Burleith advisory neighborhood commission, it was announced that Hyde-Addison would open to a few students on Monday, Dec. 7.   

But, that morning, officials at Georgetown’s only public elementary school told a Georgetowner reporter — who had arrived eager to take photos of excited students returning to school — that about 10 students would be welcomed into the building under the CARE (Canvas Academics and Real Engagement) program on Wednesday. Students in that program, created for the pandemic, will “attend” online from classrooms without certified teachers physically present. Socially distanced students participating virtually in classes and activities will be supervised instead by three or so DCPS staff throughout the day, including lunch.   

“These are misplaced priorities,” wrote the Washington Post in a Dec. 7 editorial. “Dr. Fauci is right: Close the bars and keep the schools open.” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has reportedly been asked to stay on by President-elect Joe Biden as his chief medical advisor. 

“The reason there hasn’t been more of a push to figure out how to reopen schools in D.C. is that there is no political pressure,” asserts the Post’s editorial, pointing out that “parents of means,” many of whom send their children to private schools, are less affected by the closures than “parents of minority or disadvantaged students [who] have the least clout.” Some Catholic schools and public charter schools have been open, however.  

The canceled plans for reopening the schools would have allowed up to 7,000 D.C. elementary school children to return to some in-person classes taught by certified teachers. But, as reported in The Georgetowner, the reason the reopenings were postponed is because the Washington Teachers’ Union and Chancellor Lewis Ferebee have been unable to reach agreement regarding the verification of health and safety precautions.   

Teacher strikes and sick-ins have been suggested by union leaders as a response were the chancellor to restart in-person teaching without an agreement. According to DCPS, there has not been sufficient personnel to reopen all the schools. But on Dec. 4, Ferebee said: “Parents should plan for an opening of school buildings with teachers in the third term of the academic year beginning middle of February.”    


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