School Health and Safety Reopening Guidance Technical Assistance
OSSE's Health and Wellness Division is offering the following technical assistance:
Biweekly technical assistance calls led by OSSE and in partnership with DC Health, the Public Charter School Board, DCPS, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education. The online calls provide support regarding the implementation of health and safety guidance during the reopening period. These Monday calls take place from 1-2 p.m. every other week. The next call is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 19. Register for the upcoming calls.
Using survey findings from the interviews that the Deputy Mayor for Education’s office has conducted, the Monday Oct. 19 call will include a deep dive on lessons from schools offering in-person learning. Representatives from The Sojourner Truth School will share their lessons learned regarding: (1) support for teachers, and (2) arrival and dismissal protocols, including daily health screenings.
New ResourceReturn to School Criteria decision tree guide to provide an overview of standard criteria for students and staff to return to school after symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19.
Travel Order: Schools are encouraged to remind all staff, students, and families of the Mayor’s Travel Order in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season. Individuals who have traveled to a high-risk state, country, or territory for non-essential activities are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. Travel to and from Maryland and Virginia is exempt from the Order. The high-risk state list is posted by DC Health every two weeks on coronavirus.dc.gov, and the high-risk country and territory list is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A negative COVID-19 test would not shorten the quarantine period of 14 days after non-essential travel.
2020-21 School Year Attendance Regulations, Updated Guidance, and FAQs
Since the summer, OSSE has been working to update attendance collection policies to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic. LEAs submitted their attendance policies through their Continuous Education Plans and approved plans conform to our attendance policies. This week, we published updated documents related to attendance including:
2020-21 School Year Emergency and Proposed Attendance Regulations: The emergency and proposed attendance regulations have been published in the DC Register. The 30-day public comment period has begun and will last until Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Please email comments on the emergency and proposed regulations to OSSEcomments.Proposedregulations@dc.gov.
2020-21 School Year Attendance Guidance:This guidance has been updated from an earlier version and approved LEA Continuous Education Plans align with this guidance.
2020-21 School Year Attendance FAQs:This comprehensive document responds to frequently asked questions related to the 2020-21 school year attendance policy, attendance submission, and referrals.
For additional questions, please contact Justin Tooley, deputy chief of staff, at Justin.Tooley@dc.gov.
OSSE Seeking Literacy Experts for State Literacy Plan Working Group (reminder)
The District of Columbia has been awarded a $16 million grant to improve literacy – OSSE’s Division of Teaching and Learning (TAL) is seeking the participation of literacy experts to support the development of a Comprehensive Literacy Plan (CLP) for our state. Experts selected for this CLP working group will:
Collaboratively engage with peers across the District to align around a common definition of literacy and support the development of the plan;
Provide targeted feedback and input on the state literacy plan related to your area of expertise; and
Support the establishment of evidence-based strategies and guiding principles for literacy instruction.
DCPS and public charter school teachers, reading specialists, instructional coaches serving pre-K through grade 12, and other literacy experts are welcome to apply by completing this brief online interest form by Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. For questions, please contact Ashleigh Tillman at Ashleigh.Tillman@dc.gov.
October is Growing Healthy Schools Month (reminder)
Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the health of students in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration, public schools collaborate with local community-based organizations, District government agencies, farmers, athletes, and chefs to coordinate inspiring activities aimed at engaging students with topics concerning nutrition, the environment, and being active.
To celebrate Growing Healthy Schools Month this year, OSSE is celebrating and promoting a different theme of the Healthy Schools Act each week in October: Farm to School, School Gardens, Environmental Literacy, and Physical Activity. Visit OSSE's website to find activities and resources related to each weekly theme. We encourage you to share how you’re celebrating Growing Healthy Schools Month on social media with the hashtag #HealthySchoolsDC.
Special Education Transportation Reminders in Preparation for Return to Service(reminder)
OSSE's Division of Student Transportation (OSSE DOT) is providing transportation services for the 2020-21 school year, for schools offering “hybrid” (combination of distance and in-person) or “in-person” learning. While we recognize and appreciate the updates we have received for school calendars to reflect a model that includes in-person services, we wanted to remind you of our timeline for submitting your school calendars, to include the day you will begin in-person learning and the associated Transportation Request Forms (TRFs) for your eligible students who will use transportation services.
According to our Special Education Transportation Policy, OSSE DOT has 10 business days to process transportation requests. However, given the higher volume of requests at the start of the school year along with the need for data verification, staff notifications, and various other preparation activities, DOT requests that all calendar updates and TRFs be submitted no less than 20 business days (four weeks) prior to your first day of in-person learning for the applicable student group to ensure transportation services are provided. Once services begin, requests will be processed on a rolling basis according to our policy.
OSSE DOT has made several changes based on federal and local health guidance to ensure the protection, safety and well-being of our students, staff, and the school communities we serve. As a part of our reopening plan, we will provide families with information regarding the internal measures OSSE DOT will be taking to create a safe transportation environment with student-specific routing information prior to the first day of service. LEAs and schools can access this information on OSSE's website and are welcome to share it with families as well. Additionally, all school buses are now named, “District of Columbia Student Transportation,” to be more inclusive of all educational programs supported by transportation services.
It is our goal to make the transition to school-based learning as safe and seamless as possible for the families and schools we serve. For additional questions or concerns, please contact our TOTE Support Line at (202) 576-5520 or DOT.Data@dc.gov.
Important Immunization Reminder and Requirements for In-Person Learning (reminder)
As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, District physicians have recorded an extremely low rate of pediatric immunization administrations this year. According to DC Health, the rate of pediatric immunization administrations has dropped by 70 percent in the District as families have avoided or not had access to well-child care during the emergency period. Due to this, many children in the District are not fully immunized, creating a high risk for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable infectious disease such as measles among our students. DC Health has advised that such an outbreak of another infectious disease could be as much, or even more, of a public health risk for school communities than COVID-19 itself, and would add another complex obstacle for school operations this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of protecting children against contagious diseases. Now, more than ever, families should make appointments and receive their necessary immunizations and flu shots. DC Health is prepared to support schools and families by providing more information on the importance of immunizations and details on where to access immunizations in the District. A list of health providers and locations offering pediatric immunizations is available on the DC Health website. Health providers are prepared to continue accepting appointments for administering immunizations throughout the duration of the health emergency and are taking protective measures to ensure safety of patients.
Due to the dangerously low pediatric immunization compliance and in an effort to protect the health and safety of all students, DC Health and OSSE have advised that all schools are to adopt the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance beginning in the 2020-21 school year. This includes notifying and potentially removing non-compliant students from in-person instruction after a 20-school day period due to the public health risks of in-person congregation without up-to-date immunizations. We request your assistance with communicating immunization requirements to all families now to give them as much time as possible to make appointments with their health care providers before the start of school.
OSSE's website has resources, training and information available for schools and families to support meeting immunization requirements. For questions about the Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance, please contact OSSE.SchoolHealth@dc.gov. For questions about immunization information, data, and locations where families can receive immunizations, schools can contact DC Health at SHS.Program@dc.gov or visit the DC Health Immunization Program webpage.
New Series! Foundations of Online Instructional Coaching
Are you coaching from a distance? Working behind a screen to support teacher growth? Join OSSE for a four-part series entitled, Foundations in Online Instructional Coaching. Leaders and instructional coaches will explore practical ways to create an effective online presence, investigate frameworks for structuring a 30-minute online coaching session, determine how to maintain connections through micro learnings and discuss best practices for online feedback. Participants are encouraged to attend all four sessions and will receive five professional learning units for their full participation and attendance. View here for more information and to register. For questions, please contact Tanaga Rodgers at Tanaga.Rodgers@dc.gov.
WIDA eSummit for ALL Teachers of English Learners (reminder)
With one in 12 students in DC learning English as a new language, it is critical that all teachers embrace English learners as their students and gain skills in teaching both language and content knowledge. As a WIDA Consortium state, DC uses the ACCESS annual English proficiency assessment and the WIDA English language development standards. With this membership comes access to the national WIDA eSummit, a free virtual learning opportunity open to all DC educators. The event will be held through Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Each week of the eSummit has a theme with three sessions (45- or 60-minute webinars) relating to the weekly theme. Recordings and downloadable resources will be available after the event. View the full schedule. For questions, please contact Dr. Jennifer Norton at Jennifer.Norton@dc.gov.
REAL Family Engagement: High-Quality Academic Partnering Meetings (reminder)
Flamboyan champions academic partnering meetings between educators and families as a critical component of REAL Family Engagement. Academic partnering meetings can take many forms: parent-teacher conferences (PTCs), Academic Parent-Teacher Team (APTT) meetings, or student-led conferences (SLCs). Regardless of the format, the time families and educators spend discussing and collaborating with their students is an opportunity that should be maximized. During this session, hosted by OSSE in partnership with Flamboyan, teachers and school leaders will learn about practices, tips, and tools to make the most out of academic partnering with families, even from a distance.
Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from a parent regarding their testimony and experience being academic partners with their child’s teacher. By the end of our presentation, educators will understand the foundational components of academic partnering meetings through the planning stages, high-quality delivery, and follow-up communication. This webinar will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, 3:30-4:30 p.m. [Register] For questions, please contact Jessica Dulay at Jessica.Dulay@dc.gov.
OSSE Annual School-Based Medicaid Reimbursement Webinar (reminder)
OSSE is offering its annual Medicaid Reimbursement training on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The webinar training session is for existing LEA Medicaid providers, LEAs that are interested in becoming a Medicaid provider, and for anyone interested in learning more about school-based Medicaid. The session will reinforce understanding of Medicaid rules and data requirements to foster successful and compliant claim submissions. This year, we will also offer four breakout sessions. Please feel free to invite others from your LEA if you would like to participate in more than one of the breakout sessions. (Note: Each person attending must register.)
The registration deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The registration form will list the topics for the breakout sessions and allow submission of questions for the session panelists in advance of the webinar. You will receive the webinar login information after registration has closed.