As we move into the new year, I would like to provide an update on Breakthrough’s response to COVID-19 and approach to resuming in-person learning.
Please mark your calendars for Thursday, January 14 for a community meeting from 5-6pm (Zoom link here). During this time, I will discuss the school’s approach in more detail and answer questions. As always, the meeting will be recorded and posted to our website for any family unable to join us at that time.
Before winter break, the reopening task force gathered to review the feedback families provided on our reopening indicators. In response to this feedback, we revised the indicators, which you can view on our website.
In developing these indicators, we considered the following:
- Studies on COVID-19 transmission among children, within schools, and among the community more generally;
- DC Government Reopen DC Plan and Reopening Metrics;
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicators and recommendations;
- DC Health health and safety guidance for PK-12 public schools;
- Feedback from families, collected via survey on October 13; and
- Feedback from staff, collected during staff meetings as well as a survey on October 29.
We believe our reopening indicators generate confidence among staff and families in the timing of reopening.
Since collecting feedback on the indicators, additional information has become available that impacts Breakthrough’s approach to reopening:
- On December 18, DC Health announced that eligible public charter schools can participate in the “convenience testing pilot program” that provides routine COVID-19 testing to school staff and students.
- On December 21, Mayor Bowser announced a new grant program to support public charter school reopening efforts with additional funds.
- On January 4, Mayor Bowser announced the week of January 25 as the target date for vaccinations of workers in PK-12 educational settings.
Breakthrough is tracking these developments closely.
At this time, we do not have a target date for starting in-person learning, as COVID-19 transmission rates in DC still surpass the limits Breakthrough established in its reopening indicators. We recognize, however, that the availability of an FDA-approved vaccine and other developments may justify a revision of these indicators. City leaders are convening school leaders soon to discuss the vaccine program, and we hope to have more details to share with families by our Thursday community meeting.
We welcome family and staff input as we consider not only the impact of vaccine availability on school reopening, but also the continuous improvement of our distance learning program. To that end, we invite families to complete this survey, which will remain open until Friday, January 15 at 5pm (we recognize that some families may wish to receive more information from Thursday’s meeting before completing the survey).
We also plan to resume onsite support with in-person learning. We began this program, which is similar to the DCPS CARES classrooms, in September. Breakthrough will contact families directly if their student is eligible to come onsite.
I look forward to discussing these developments with you in more detail on Thursday evening. I would once again like to thank families and staff for engaging so thoughtfully in the decision-making process.