DC Schools: Test Negative for COVID or Stay Home

EdNews Virginia | April 24, 2023

Public, government-run schools in the District of Columbia are still demanding negative COVID test results as a condition of attendance. On Wednesday, April 12, the school district issued a reminder that “all students and staff are expected to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to school following Spring Break.” The district’s reminder came two days after the Biden Administration officially declared the national public health emergency to be over.

In a tweet sent yesterday, DC Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee made clear the district’s requirement remains in force. “To ensure a safe return to school tomorrow, all students and staff must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test,” Ferebee tweeted — to the astonishment of many around the country. As of 7 o’clock Monday morning, the chancellor’s tweet was severely ratioed. Some reacted with incredulity, wondering if @DCPSChancellor was a parody account.

Like many public, government-run school systems, the District of Columbia saw test scores crater following extended COVID-related closures. DC students at or above grade level in math declined from 31% to 19%, DCist reported in September. In reading, student achievement at or above grade level slid from 37% to 31%.