Term 4 for SY20-21

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

We are taking steps to offer more in-person opportunities, including schools considering their plans to expand in-person learning for Term 4 where current demand exceeds capacity. DCPS will maintain any classrooms that previously opened for in-person learning, CARE, self-contained instruction, tutoring, or other services for students in Term 4. The first day of student learning for Term 4 is Monday, April 19, and Spring Break is the week prior.

Schools are also beginning to engage with students, families, and staff to consider if additional in-person programming seats can be offered in Term 4. If there is sufficient student demand for in-person programming, schools may add additional classrooms, or make other adjustments to their reopening plans, to accommodate more students in Term 4. This can only be done while also maintaining the continuity of the learning experience for all students.

Health & Safety Updates for Term 4 (April 19 – June 25)

DC Health released revised COVID-19 guidelines for schools in alignment with updated school operations guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Accordingly, this means that DC Public Schools (DCPS) will adapt some of these changes, and they will go into effect at the start of Term 4 in April 2021.


Beginning Friday May 28, the updated travel guidance from DC Health, released on May 20, 2021, will apply to DCPS staff, students, and families. 


Recent data released by CDC has indicated that to allow more students back into school, there are times when 3 feet of social distancing can be implemented. This will be paired with other preventive strategies, such as mask use and cohorting to keep schools safe. If a school experiences substantial community spread, DCPS will consider modifying social distancing to 6 feet between students to address these concerns.

Additionally, classroom capacity is no longer set at a specific number; rather, capacity should be limited to the maximum number of full-time occupants per instructional space that can be present while maintaining social distancing of 3 feet.

While social distancing between students is 3 feet, a distance of 6 feet should be maintained between students and the teacher(s). Schools also should work to maximize space between students during meals and follow appropriate hygiene and cleaning practices as outlined in the DCPS COVID-19 Operations Handbook.

Additionally, a distance of 6 feet is to be maintained between student cohorts while entering/exiting the building, in hallways, and other shared spaces.

All schools should be able to see an increase in the ability to serve students in person with the new guidelines. However, adjustments should only be made for Term 4 if family demand exists, and scheduling considerations are appropriately addressed.

In addition to use of the guidance above, there may be other factors that affect a classroom’s capacity to provide 3 feet social distancing for students. Schools should take the following factors into account when ultimately determining their cohort size:

  • Location of built-ins
  • Placement of doors and windows
  • Furniture availability (individual student desks vs. tables)
  • Instructional space needed by the teacher, such as near the Smartboard or at a Science Lab demonstration table, and the associated 6 feet social distancing that staff require between staff and students.


While cohort size/classroom capacities are altering for Term 4, most other aspects of the Existing Cohort Guidance remain in effect, which limit staff and student cohort interaction. Staff to student cohort interactions should be limited as outlined in existing guidance. Student cohorts, while larger in size, should still be maintained during the school day and cannot mix.

In addition, AM/PM schedules are permitted, with a cap of 5 rooms and a minimum of 1.5 hours between cohorts to allow for enhanced cleaning and student pick up and drop off procedures. Students that utilize Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) transportation cannot be considered for half day programming and should remain in a full day program. If a school has a plan to offer AM/PM programming that would not require them to use a classroom twice on the same day, the time between cohorts can be reduced to 45 minutes.

Students participating in afterschool athletic programming may have a distinct cohort for afterschool programming as outlined in the next section.


Students participating in any after-school athletics programming may have in-person groups that are distinct (different) from their school day cohort. In this way, students participating in athletics may have a school-day cohort of students and an athletics cohort of students they are a part of. These after-school athletics cohorts must remain stable, without mixing with other athletic cohorts, and must adhere to all physical (social) distancing and other provisions in existing guidance.

Updated guidance from DC Health and the DC State Associate for Athletics includes approval to proceed with low contact sports for middle and high school students. Additionally, certain limited high-contact sport activities are permitted. DCPS will follow the schedule and guidance from DCSAA and the Athletics Division will continue to work with schools to safely implement a spring sports season.

Activities such as theatre, choir, and band are now permitted, with the stipulation that at least 10 feet of distance is maintained between individuals. These activities can take place indoors or outdoors.


DCPS will continue with current health screening processes, inclusive of temperature check and health screening, for all staff, visitors, and students in Term 4. Contracted medical staff (Patient Care Technicians) will continue to support schools per current schedule through the duration of SY20- 21.


Instead of the standard 14-day quarantine, the new recommendation from the CDC and DC Health states that close contact exposure warrants a quarantine of 10 days. The 10-day quarantine recommendation is intended to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus while also minimizing the burden of quarantine. Starting on Monday, April 19 (Term 4) DCPS will officially transition to 10-day quarantine period for those who have been identified as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

Page updated: June 4, 2021