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Some DCPS schools prepping to bring students back in-person

Tyler Elementary will be offering three optional outdoor activities for families in October.

WASHINGTON — Some DCPS students will soon have the opportunity to see their classmates in-person again.

The district is allowing 13 schools to set up "student support centers," which will involve in-person programming for small groups of students. 

One of those schools is Tyler Elementary.

"School, as we know, is a place of hope," Tyler Elementary School Principal Jasmine Brann said. "It’s a wonderful beacon of light in a community, so we’re eager to welcome our students back to their school, to their playground. “

During her situational update Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the programs are designed to supplement the in-person distance learning and range from tutoring to social-emotional support to outdoor engagement activities.

Credit: Jess Arnold
Tyler Elementary in DC will be offering outdoor activities to families in October.

Principal Brann said her school is focusing on three community-building outdoor optional activities:

  1. Outdoor STEAM Event with Tyler Art Teacher, Ms. Amanda Swift and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop on our Tyler Parking Lot on Saturday, October 10. 
  2. Outdoor Class Recess sessions on our Tyler Playground beginning Thursday, October 15. 
  3. Outdoor Garden Club with FoodPrints and Tyler PTA for students in our CES/SLS Special Education Programs on Wednesdays beginning October 14. 

“In this moment, we’re able to see strength. We’re able to see solidarity," Principal Brann said. "We’re able to see true collaboration, and what really grounds me in this work is that our kids are relying on this. They’re going to look back on 2020 and it’s been a hard year, no way to negate that reality. And just our hope that at Tyler and students across DCPS will be able to say it was a hard year, but my teacher told me they loved me … we’re committed to making positive memories for our students.”

She said each of the events will be RSVP-based, and they'll start circulating information on Friday.

The principal said the class recess sessions will be about 25 students, the two STEAM events will host 50, and the garden club will be about 20 students. She said each of the smaller groups will be supervised by at least two staff members who have volunteered to attend.

Now that they're a few months into the school year, Principal Brann said they've gotten a handle on the technology and teaching — her biggest concern is students' and teachers' anxiety.

"The impact of the stress, the impact of the uncertainties, the impact of the anxiety is something we have to continue to be very thoughtful about, supporting one another, and supporting ourselves as well," she said.

That's why there will be activities centered on social-emotional learning at the STEAM events.

When it comes to safety precaution at these meetups, she said social distancing will be enforced, participants will be required to wear masks, and hand sanitizer will be made available.

The other schools participating in the support centers are:

  • Ballou STAY
  • Bancroft ES
  • Cardozo EC
  • Eastern HS
  • Kimball ES
  • Kramer MS
  • Ludlow-Taylor ES
  • Mann ES
  • Noyes ES
  • Phelps ACE HS
  • Roosevelt HS
  • Roosevelt STAY

A spokesperson for DCPS said that before the support centers are allowed to open, there will be an operational and safety review of each school’s individual support center plan to ensure that health and safety protocols are in place. He said schools must adhere to health and safety guidelines throughout the duration of their support center.

Also, he said students and staff will be required to undergo health screenings upon arrival.

Principal Brann shared the following requirements for participants:

  • Cooperation with Tyler expectations (safe, respectful, responsible, and kind) 
  • Up-to-date immunizations are required for in-person attendance and activities
  • A parent/guardian/caregiver is required for student supervision
  • Other precautionary measures as outlined by the CDC must be followed (i.e. stay home when sick, wash hands regularly, wear PPE (face mask, etc.), stay 6 feet apart)

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