First Day Fully Open for ‘Full-Up’ Hyde-Addison School


D.C. Public Schools opened fully to all students today, Aug. 30, and the atmosphere appeared to be – subdued excitement.  At least at Georgetown’s only public elementary school, Hyde-Addison.

“The kids are excited…. and a bit nervous,” parents told The Georgetowner as they stood in a long line in front of the school with the post-modern design at about 8:45 a.m. (after some hassle to find parking). They clutched orange-colored filled-out student “Daily Screening Trackers” — health assessment lists that each family is required to complete and turn in for each student before they’re admitted onto the campus grounds.

Many parents held the hands of their younger students while also carrying large bags or pulling wagons full of required school and cleaning supplies requested by the teachers. Most of the children toted back packs — with lunch and snacks, pencils and such.

Everyone wore masks. “You’re not allowed on campus without a mask,” several officials and teachers said.

“All day? Even outdoors?” this reporter asked.

“Except when eating,” sighed one teacher. “It’s hard when we ask them to sing or play a musical instrument with a mask on though.”

“We will conduct some of the little ones outside periodically for a mask break if they need it,” confided one supervisor.

Friendly, casually dressed teachers, some in shorts and Hyde-Addison trimmed t-shirts and sports shoes, greeted each student at length, talked to the parents, watched the long-hug goodbyes and then brought the little ones into the elementary school building. The older ones were conducted to clusters of students sitting in informal circles on the playground with their classmates. There were three circles just for third graders.

“I’m expecting 21 students,” one third grade teacher said.  They were about to go indoors and about 16 were in the circle.

“We are full-up,” said Principal Calvin Hooks wearing a jacket without a tie and probably smiling proudly behind his mask. “Most of the elementary schools in D.C. have lost students but we have gained. From 386 students, we are expecting 404 this term.” According to Hooks, 28 percent of the student body at Hyde-Addison are neighborhood students while 72 percent are from outside the neighborhood.

None of the children seemed to be protesting or agitating against the wearing of masks or the informal social distancing enforced on them because of the ongoing pandemic. But the excited greeting of friends, running around, playing on the playground equipment of former opening days was not seen. The kids seemed somewhat subdued.

“Children are used to wearing masks,” several parents told The Georgetowner. “They don’t care. They just want to be back in school and be with each other. They are all in the same boat.”

“But I hate the masks,” one teacher told this reporter privately, asking not to be identified. “I want to tear them off. We all just hope this will end soon with herd immunity.”

A required Covid-19 random asymptomatic testing framework, however, was changed on Aug. 28 by Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Families will be allowed to opt out of the test program if they choose, Bowser announced at a press conference. 

Hyde-Addison Principal Calvin Hooks. Photo by Peggy Sands.

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