Frequently Asked Questions for Families about the 2020-2021 School Year.

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Pandemic-EBT Update for DCPS Students

For all questions related to the DC Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program please visit DHS’s P-EBT webpage and complete the web form to contact the Department of Human Services. Information about P-EBT funds distributed from October 2020 to present is not yet available as the District does not have a P-EBT plan that has been approved by the federal government. To ensure the P-EBT card is received quickly once they become available, families should contact their school to make sure their current mailing address is on file.

Though all meals will be served free of charge for DCPS students learning in school and at open meal sites for SY 20/21, we encourage families with children who do not attend a CEP school to complete the Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) application as soon as possible to ensure maximum P-EBT benefits are received once they become available. More information on FARM can be found here. Paper FARM applications can be picked up and submitted at any open DCPS meal site or in the office at non-CEP schools.

Early Childhood (PK3-PK4)Elementary (K-5)Secondary (6-12)Meals

What are the learning model options for Term 2?

For our elementary school students in grades PK-5th, they have two opportunities to return to school – CARE Classrooms or In-Person Learning Classrooms — and the availability of each option is staff dependent. To ensure continuity with semester schedules and consistency in grading practices, all 6th-12th grade students will continue with the learning at home model through Term 2, with a possible transition to in-person learning at the start of Term 3. We recognize returning to school may not be the preference of every family. Learning at home will still be available for all DCPS students from Pre-K through 12th Grade.

What are the hours of Student CARE Classrooms?

The schedule and operations for Student CARE classrooms will vary by school. CARE Classrooms meet five days a week and Wednesdays will be a half day.

Elementary (K-5)

How are DCPS and the WTU working together to ensure teachers feel safe to return to in-person learning?

DCPS is fully committed to meeting all appropriate safety precautions, as detailed by DC Health, to ensure a safe reopening for students and staff. We are proud to have worked collaboratively with the Washington Teachers’ Union on an agreement reached in December 2020 that represents our shared commitment to ensuring students have the high-quality education and supports they need to thrive, and our teachers and staff feel safe and prepared to return to school buildings.

What is the order of operations for the student selection process that will prioritize students furthest from opportunity?

This message is archived. All schools are preparing reopening plans to share with their school community in January and will open for in-person programming at the start of Term 3, as health conditions allow.

The Student Selection Process will consist of running three different matching processes:

  • In-Person Instruction classrooms
  • Self-Contained classrooms
  • CARE classrooms

We are prioritizing classroom seats for our elementary students with the highest need based on current enrollment information. Through a random selection process, we will prioritize by grade level by school:

  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • Students who receive special education services or who are English Learners
  • Students who are designated as At-Risk
  • All other enrolled students 

Self-contained in-person learning classroom seats, for students receiving special education services with more intensive needs, will be prioritized by class by school in the following order:

  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • All other enrolled students in the class

We will also give siblings in the same school a preference in the process to keep them on the same schedule, where possible (first siblings in priority groups, then all other siblings). 

Students in the priority groups outlined above who are not initially matched with a seat for in-person learning will be put on a waitlist. Among priority students, siblings of students who have been matched will be at the top of the waitlist. After siblings, students in priority groups will be on the waitlist based on a random number assignment. Non-priority group students will be waitlisted last, based on random number assignment.

DCPS has partnered with OCTO to develop the requirements for the algorithm that will assign students based on eligibility and preference criteria. OCTO is using the software program that My School DC uses in order to ensure a fair and equitable process. Results of this selection process will be shared with parents who have been matched with a seat, but not posted publicly.

Will schools conduct fire drills when they return to in-person learning and Student CARE classrooms?

Yes, we are planning on conducting fire drills and will be providing guidance to school leaders in the coming weeks on how to conduct them, accounting for the current health conditions.  

When will final daily schedules be available that will show what students can expect each day for in-person learning and the Student CARE classroom?

In early January, the DCPS Reopen Community Corps will host its final meeting learning models for In-Person Learning and CARE classrooms in Term 3. Schools will announce Term 3 learning models mid-January. 

Will there be an opportunity to tour my school building before I accept my in-person or CARE classroom seat?

All school facilities are being prepared through a rigorous, standardized process centered on the development of an individual operational school plan, school building preparation, and walkthroughs to ensure readiness for student and staff return. Throughout this process, we want to reduce the number of visitors present in school buildings to limit exposure as per our health and safety guidelines. As a result, we cannot allow individual visits for all of the school community. Instead, principals will be leading planned site visits for LSAT, PTA, and union representatives.

All schools are receiving detailed guidance and intensive technical assistance to guide the development of individualized operational plans prior to reopening. DCPS Central Office will review those plans and then schools will be able to share details with their school community once plans are finalized. 

If I accept an offer for my child to have an in-person seat, can I change my mind and go back to virtual learning?

In line with our health and safety commitments, we prefer to maintain consistent and stable cohorts. However, we know family circumstances change and in-person learning or a Student CARE classroom may not work for everyone. As such, any family may switch to learning at home at any point by contacting their school. If a student does move to learning at home, they may not be able to return to in-person learning or CARE classrooms during the current term.

Can schools make an appeal to offer seats for in-person learning that are not selected through the randomized selection process?

We are prioritizing classroom seats for our elementary students with the highest need based on current enrollment information. Through a random selection process, we will prioritize by grade level at each school:

  • Students experiencing homelessness
  • Students who receive special education services or who are English Learners
  • Students who are designated as At-Risk
  • All other enrolled students 

We know that our school leaders know their students and families best, and there may be extenuating factors or circumstances impacting student learning that school leaders may want to appeal for additional students not granted a seat through the initial selection process. Principals will be provided with written guidance and need to submit a rationale and documentation two days after seats are released. All appeals will be reviewed and approved by the Instructional Superintendent.