Release: Silverman Continues Push for Collaboration and Transparency with DCPS During Pandemic Learning

Silverman Continues Push for Collaboration and Transparency with DCPS During Pandemic Learning

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 25, 2020 – The District of Columbia faces challenging decisions on how best to educate our DC Public Schools (DCPS) students in the coronavirus pandemic. Leaders need to weigh the public health and safety of the entire DCPS community alongside the best environment for learning and social-emotional development. These decisions need to be made collaboratively and transparently, with the trust and confidence of everyone involved in our schools: students, parents, teachers, nurses, teacher aides and paraprofessionals, principals, cafeteria staff, and custodial workers.

Today, in the effort to continue the conversation about how to work in partnership to educate our students and keep the community healthy and safe, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large) released a new “discussion draft” of emergency legislation on DCPS operations during the pandemic. The DCPS Pandemic Learning Emergency Act of 2020, which was originally introduced two weeks ago, has been revised to focus on four key goals: collaboration between the DCPS Chancellor and DCPS stakeholders that includes gathering input and soliciting feedback; transparency; establishment of key metrics to measure health and learning; and creation of a COVID-19 testing regime. The discussion draft is intended to solicit feedback and generate discussion with DCPS families, teachers, and school staff – as well as with the Chancellor, executive and DC Council –so that a bill can be in place for a vote at the Council's December 15 additional legislative meeting.

“My legislation would give parents, teachers, and school staff a seat at the table and add much needed transparency into the process,” Silverman said. “Our approach to pandemic learning can’t continue to be messy and chaotic. We need to all work together to educate our kids and keep our community healthy.”

Specifically, the revised DCPS Pandemic Learning Emergency Act of 2020 would: 

  • Create a Pandemic Advisory Learning Council composed of DCPS parents, teachers, and other core staff to advise the Chancellor on in-person and distance learning issues and review reopening plans in advance. 
  • Require in-person learning threshold metrics to guide opening/closing decisions. 
  • Require in-person learning transparency regarding public health and education goals
  • Establish randomized COVID-19 testing regime to safeguard the health of the DCPS community participating in in-person learning

The full text of the draft bill is available here. Members of the public can send any input, thoughts, or questions on the bill to esilverman@dccouncil.us. After taking in feedback and recommendations, Councilmember Silverman will file a revised emergency bill for the DC Council’s additional legislative meeting on December 15, 2020.

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