WTU: Return to School Guidelines Issued without Teacher Input

Late on June 30, the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) learned that teachers received “Return to In-Person Work Guidelines” from DC Public Schools. WTU President Elizabeth Davis noted that this guidance was issued without DCPS “providing a fully developed plan for how we safely and effectively resume instruction in the fall” and without any opportunity for WTU to review the guidelines and provide “meaningful feedback to the proposal.” Response from DCPS has been requested and will be posted when received.

Earlier in June, WTU had gathered input from 200 teachers on matters pertinent to reopening schools, noting:

Concerned about the lack of teacher input into conversations about how we safely reopen schools in the District of Columbia, the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) released recommendations for how the District can work with teachers to ensure their safety and improve the education of DC students as the city reopens schools for instruction.

— Washington Teachers Union, June 22, 2020

A few notable points from the report follow:

Prepared to Open?

Of 218 respondents, only two (2; 0.0%) said they believed schools would be “fully prepared” to open on August 31; 43 (19.7%) responded “somewhat prepared; and 79.4% (173 of 218) said “not prepared.”

Sufficient Space for 10-person Classrooms?

Only 17% of respondents say their schools have enough classroom space to allow for 10-person-masixum schooling, with students attending on alternate days. Close to 18% said “maybe,” and another 9.2% didn’t know. More than half (56%) of the educators say their schools have insufficient space.

Students With Digital Access

Less than 20% of teachers reported that 3/4 or more of their students were regularly logging in (19.6% in April; 18.8% in June), while about 28% of teachers (27.7% in April; 28.5% in June) said 1/4 or fewer of their students regularly logged in. A majority of teachers reported that many of their students did not have computers and access to internet: 28.5% estimated that 1/4 to 1/2 of their students had such access; 27.2% estimated that less than 1/4 of their students had digital access.

From the WTU “Reopening Our Schools Taskforce Report” 6/22/20

Here is the full Task Force report.

Check back for response from DCPS.

Live programming from “Community through Covid” is still on hiatus. Meanwhile, we will update you on this story and others related to pandemic and re-opening.


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