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Mayor Bowser Announces that All DC Public Schools Students and Staff Will Need to Provide Proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test to Return to School on January 5

Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Student Tests Must Be Administered on Tuesday, January 4, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee announced that, in order to support a safe return to school, DCPS will require all students and staff to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school on Wednesday, January 5. DCPS will make free rapid antigen tests available on Monday, January 3, and Tuesday, January 4. DCPS families must upload their child’s negative test results to dcps.dc.gov/safereturn by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4.

To minimize disruptions to learning, DCPS families will need to:

  • Pick up an iHealth rapid antigen test from a DCPS school or a Test Yourself Express pickup site. Tests will be available at every DCPS school on Monday, January 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Tuesday, January 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Families can pick up a test at any DCPS school.
  • Test your child on Tuesday, January 4. Tests administered before January 4 will not be accepted.
  • Upload results by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4.

Families may choose to utilize their own antigen or PCR tests, but tests administered before Tuesday, January 4 will not be accepted.

Families should report their child’s results on Tuesday, January 4 by:

  • Visiting dcps.dc.gov/safereturn
  • Entering your student’s name, address, a contact email, a contact phone number, their school, the date of their test, and their test results
  • Uploading a photo or pdf of your results

All DCPS students will need to provide proof of a negative test result before returning to school.

If a student tests negative, families should continue to monitor their child for any symptoms of COVID-19. If their child is showing any symptoms OR if they are required to quarantine because they are unvaccinated and have been identified as a close contact to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, families should keep the student at home, regardless of their test result.

If a student tests positive, families should reach out to their school’s main office so that their child’s absence can be noted accordingly. Then, families should follow all isolation guidance from DC Health and their child’s healthcare provider.

“The health and safety of our community remain paramount as we prepare to welcome students and staff back to our schools,” said Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “As we have throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, DCPS will continue to follow the guidance of public health authorities and utilize all resources available to maintain in-person learning opportunities for our students.”

DCPS previously adjusted the school calendar, classifying Monday, January 3 and Tuesday, January 4 as non-instructional days for students to allow families and staff to pick up tests. DCPS staff will take a COVID-19 test and upload their test results on Monday, January 3. If staffing availability requires that a school transition to situational virtual learning on Wednesday, January 5, families will be notified on Tuesday, January 4.

We expect that schools and classrooms will need to transition to situation virtual learning throughout the semester, especially in the coming weeks. In the event a school needs to transition to situational virtual learning, schools will pivot for up to 10 calendar days. Decisions about specific classrooms and grade levels within a school will be made on a case-by-case basis. Each day, staff and student availability will be reviewed by 4:00 p.m. and school posture decisions will be made by 8:00 p.m.

To learn more, please visit dcpsreopenstrong.com.