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‘RIP Favorite Teacher’: DC teachers line up ‘body bags’ and signs to protest potential return to school

The mayor is expected to announce the reopening plan this week

Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Public school teachers in Washington, D.C., lined up fake "body bags" and displayed signs in front of the school system's offices recently to protest a partial return to the classroom.

Evidently, the teachers wanted to make their feelings known ahead of Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser's announcement regarding D.C.'s plan for reopening schools this fall. Bowser is expected to make the announcement this Friday.

Debbie Truong, an education reporter for WAMU-FM, Washington's NPR station, posted a photo of the bags to Twitter on Monday.

In the photo, you can see filled garbage bags tied with duct tape lined up outside the offices along with several signs that read, "RIP Favorite Teacher," "RIP, Killed in the Line of Duty," and "[D.C. Public Schools], how many will you let die?"

Another sign read "Distance Only" in reference to the virtual classroom learning that many districts around the country shifted to last spring amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, officials in D.C., as in many communities, are finalizing decisions on how to reopen schools as the virus lingers, considering a full physical return, an all-virtual return, or a hybrid model.

Last week, parents in D.C. were asked to fill out a "technology survey" to help inform DCPS administrators about the resources available to students should virtual learning be continued. The survey asked parents to provide feedback on whether or not their children had access to a laptop, tablet, DCPS-issued device, or none of above.

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have pushed for public schools to fully reopen and earlier this month threatened to cut federal funding to schools that refuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an updated guidance on schools reopening last week, in which the agency noted that "the best available evidence indicates if children become infected, they are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms," though that the risk is heightened for faculty and staff.

The guidance added that "the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant."

In an accompanying statement, CDC Director Robert Redfield argued that it is "critically important for our public health" that schools reopen.

(H/T: The Washington Examiner)

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