WASHINGTON — All D.C. Public Schools students will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test before returning to class next week as the city continues seeing a drastic rise in coronavirus cases.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Dr. Lewis Ferebee announced the new policy during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.
With students set to return to class next week, here’s what parents need to know:
- iHealth rapid antigen tests will be available at all DCPS locations on Monday from 1-4 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Families can pick up tests at any DCPS school or at a Test Yourself Express pickup site.
- Students must take the test ON Tuesday. Families may choose to use their own antigen or PCR testing options, but tests administered before January 4 will not be accepted.
- The results must then be uploaded to the district by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Students who fail to upload their results by Tuesday afternoon will not be allowed to attend school until they have done so. This applies to both district and charter school students.
DCPS teachers will also be required to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test and report their results to the district before 1 p.m. on Monday.
Parents can report their students’ test results or find more information about DCPS’ COIVD-19 testing policy online at www.dcps.dc.gov/safeturn or by calling 202-442-5885.
Ferebee also provided more information about the district’s plan should a transition back to virtual learning be required. Ferebee said schools will “pivot” to situational virtual learning for up to 10 calendar days. Decisions about virtual learning will be made and posted online by 8 p.m.
In an interview Wednesday, Jacqueline Pogue Lyons, president of the Washington Teachers' Union, said dialogue continues with the District to plan for weekly student covid tests as omicron surges into 2022.
"That's what we would like," Pogue Lyons said. "We believe the best way to keep everyone safe is to test once a week."
She added the union and DCPS have a memorandum of understanding to begin weekly covid testing for teachers, a routine that may start as soon as next week.
"Our teachers are supposed to receive an at-home test in the mail," Pogue Lyons said. "We're hoping that all teachers will join in, take that test weekly, and send it in."
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