- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The District is expanding coronavirus testing for its public school students and staff as local coronavirus infections climb and the U.S. undergoes another surge in infections.

Beginning next week, students learning in-person at a D.C. public school can receive a PCR nasal swab test about every 10 days. Parents and guardians will have to sign consent forms in order for their children to get tested.

D.C. Public Schools staff who are supporting in-person learning also will receive self-administered testing kits in the mail once a week. They are encouraged but not required to use this at-home testing kit.

“We are proud of the very robust testing system we have built in D.C., and now we can use that infrastructure to support this program,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday. “There is a sense of urgency to get more students back in school with their teachers, peers, and school community, and we are hopeful that these new protocols move us one step closer to reopening.”

While test results are pending, students and staff will continue to partake in in-person instruction and learning and will be notified of their results via email.



Students, staffers or their families who develop COVID-19 symptoms at any time should immediately self-isolate and contact their doctor as outlined by DCPS health and safety protocols.

Every school that offers in-person learning has three “patient care technicians” to support health protocols such as temperature checks, symptom screenings and isolation room staffing. Those schools also will offer on-site rapid testing for individuals exhibiting coronavirus symptoms. Students who test negative can also get follow-up testing.

Schools are opening Canvas Academics and Real Engagement (CARE) classrooms, where students learn remotely with a school staff member present, in phases during the second term. So far, 31 D.C. public schools are offering classroom programming.

About 700 seats are open for students and 140 staff members are supervising classrooms this week.

As of Tuesday, five DCPS staff have tested positive for COVID-19 while 34 are currently in quarantine. Only one student has tested positive while 16 are self-isolating.

The District reported 157 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, bringing the total to 21,842. Five more residents died from COVID-19, raising the toll to 690.

The seven-day average of daily cases is nearly 26 per 100,000 people, which is in the “red zone” for reopening and signifies “substantial community spread,” according to health data.

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