Healthy Routines at Home and at School

This page is now archived because it relates to information for a previous school year.

Healthy routines start at home.

The same safety steps we follow in our daily lives to protect ourselves from COVID-19 will take place at school. Practice healthy routines with your student like mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and daily health screening.

Wondering what the start of the school day will look like as we reopen? Watch a brief video for elementary school students about getting ready for the day, about arriving at school, and the school day itself.

We require students and staff to practice safe routines as they return to in-person programming at school. To minimize the impact of a positive case on the entire school, students are grouped in cohorts. Students eat breakfast and lunch in their classroom. Student cohorts have scheduled, staggered arrival, recess, and dismissal times to limit interactions between other cohorts.

We also ensure necessary supplies are provided to schools, and that staff are trained to support new health and safety routines. Personal protective equipment such as masks are available to all students and staff in a school building; there are enhanced cleaning protocols; and anyone who comes to a school building completes a daily health screening.

Read more about our preparations to reopen school buildings.

Ask, Ask, Look: Daily Health Screening

To prevent COVID-positive individuals from entering our campuses, all DCPS schools will have COVID-19 symptom screening procedures in place for staff and students. Parents and guardians are asked to proactively identify when their student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed by using the Ask, Ask, Look protocol prior to arrival each day.

  • Ask your child if they are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Ask whether your child has been in close contact with anyone who has COVID-19, including people in your household in the past 10 days.

If you answered, “yes,” to either question, the student should stay home, contact your healthcare provider, and follow your school’s attendance reporting protocol. Students and those in their household should also stay home if they traveled to a high-risk state or country for non-essential activities in the past 10 days.

If you answered, “no,” the student may attend school that day. Upon arrival, there will be a temperature check and a trained staff member will look for signs of illness such as flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.

Staff and visitors will also follow these steps before entering the building. Those who are fully vaccinated can see additional health guidance here.

Families and students who are close contacts or test positive for COVID-19 should alert their school principal immediately. If needed, DCPS will enact health and safety protocols in a safe and secure manner. DCPS takes health privacy seriously and will maintain confidentiality at all times.

SY20-21 Immunization Requirements

Ensuring your child receives the right vaccinations at the right age is one of the most important ways to help them stay healthy and keep serious diseases at a distance. An up-to-date immunization record is required for in-person programming. Families must have an immunization certification for their student submitted by their first day of in-person attendance. Students without documentation will not be permitted to attend school in person and will continue to learn at home.

If you have questions about your student’s immunizations, contact your medical provider and request a copy of your student’s immunization history or call the DC Health Immunization Program at (202) 576-7130. There are also 64 immunization clinics across the city that are ready to respond to the needs of families to complete immunizations. Find a pediatric community facility location nearest you in this document from DC Health.

Page updated: April 23, 2021