Roughly 225 KIPP D.C. families have opted into a learning program that allows their children to return to the classroom one day a week, says Adam Rupe, a spokesperson for the charter school system.
It’s designed to supplement the virtual learning still taking place and was open to all 7,000 KIPP D.C. families.
“We’ll support them with the synchronous work that they have for their regular virtual school day, but then we’ll also make sure that we make it fun. We have activities, right. We have different crafts prepared and ready for them, so they can engage in the things that we know that makes school fun,” said Promise Academy Principal Monique Hardin-Simmons.
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She’s also the Wednesday Workshop school leader.
Currently, there are four campuses that are participating in Wednesday Workshop, in its second week. Three are for K-8.
One is for high school students.
Students arrive around 10 a.m., go through a health screening which includes temperature checks and a questionnaire, and then enter the building.
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Guests, including parents, are not allowed inside the building for safety protocols.
Once inside, they must wear their masks the entire 4-hour day, except to eat lunch.
There is also time built-in for outdoor activities as well.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make this as safe as possible,” said Director of COVID Support Donny Tiengtum.
He says that also means from an HVAC perspective.
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“All of our Wednesday Workshop classrooms have air purification filters in the room too,” said Tiengtum.
There are also cleaning protocols in place with crews disinfecting classrooms before students arrive and when they leave for the day.
The school system says all staff members have gone through training to participate and opted in as well.
There is also an external consultant used in conjunction with health support from DC Health.
“It’s a sense of normalcy, and they’re doing all the right steps,” said Leon Smith, a parent to twins.
“When [my son] comes home, he tells me, ‘Mom, there’s handwashing everywhere. There’s hand sanitizer everywhere. We’re social distancing.’ All the protocols they have in place, I’m very happy,” said Franselene Clark.
For Cardella Nash, it’s more than just operating under a new set of guidelines.
This is also a big step for her son, who is in kindergarten.
“I wanted him to at least have the opportunity to come, actually be in the building with the other kids and as you can see, he’s still a little reluctant, but I think he’s getting used to it,” she said.
When it comes to opening up the classroom for other days, Hardin-Simmons says, for now, they are going to stick with Wednesday Workshop.
“We’re going to go until mid-October and then we’re going to assess, see where we are and see where we land,” said Hardins-Simmons.