Silverman Introduces Emergency Legislation to Increase Transparency and Collaboration on DCPS Safe Reopening

Bill requires DCPS to disclose data and timelines in advance of in-person learning

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 12, 2020 – Today, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) introduced emergency legislation to increase transparency and collaboration in the development of Term 2 plans for the resumption of in-person learning at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). The COVID-19 DCPS Reopening Emergency Act of 2020 (“DCPS Reopening Act”) delineates guidelines for the expansion of in-person learning and teacher instruction during a public health emergency. Specifically, the bill outlines data and timelines that must be shared in advance, requires the Mayor to send any reopening plan to the Council for approval, and specifies that any plan must include the support of the workers in DCPS schools.

“In-person instruction is the optimal learning environment, especially for our most vulnerable, so we want to get our students back to the classroom,” said Silverman. “But returning to the classroom will only be successful if all adults and kids involved trust the plan and feel it is safe. There’s been a lack of collaboration so far that has created chaos and stress. This legislation is an effort to create a transparent process so we can work together to safely return to school.”

The DCPS Reopening Act will ensure that all plans for in-school learning are developed collaboratively and transparently, and released with sufficient advance notice going forward. 

Guidelines set by this Act include: 

  • Restricting DCPS from opening more than two classrooms per school in Term 2, unless outlined safety requirements have been met.
  • Requiring the Mayor to submit a detailed reopening plan to the Council for approval at least 21 days before opening more than two classrooms in any school.
  • Requiring the Mayor to submit to the Council a COVID-19 baseline safety certification at least 2 days before in-person learning begins. 
  • Setting detailed parameters for the conditions under which expanded in-person learning will be allowed to continue, including that the District’s reopening metrics be stable or improving. 

“As Chair of the Council’s Labor Committee, I want to make sure that our students have a safe environment in which to learn, our DCPS employees have a safe environment in which to work, and our working parents can have comfort that dropping their kids off to school is safe, too,” Silverman said. “We need for all members of the DCPS community to have confidence in the plan. A collaborative and transparent process is the only way we can ensure a safe return to in-person learning for everyone.”



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