Not all D.C. Public Schools students experienced a smooth transition back into the classroom. More than a quarter of DCPS students are still unvaccinated and some schools have no air conditioning. (Courtesy Photo)

By Deborah Bailey,
Contributing Editor

Students in the D.C. area piled back into classrooms this week, but D.C. administrators are still working out some details of the “welcome back,” as many children arrived at hot facilities and chaos surrounding students COVID-19 vaccination status.  

With the first week of school, temperatures soared into the 90s’ and many of the District’s older school buildings were simply too hot. Staff from at least two District school facilities anonymously reported classroom temperatures soaring to 80 degrees, and more than 180 last-minute work orders to fix work orders to broken air HVAC units went unfilled. 

According to D.C. City Council Chair Phil Mendelson, the Council did not receive a required report on school readiness last week from the D.C. Department of General Services (DCDGS). The Council passed the Back-To-School Safety Emergency Act to prevent the very problems it is facing with school children facing situations of extreme heat in school buildings, said Mendelson.  

“This is unacceptable, and I will press @DCDGS immediately about the lack of accurate and transparent data available to the Council, especially now, at the start of the school year,” Mendelson tweeted.  

 Mayor Muriel Bowser and City administration has also pushed back the date required for Covid-19 vaccination for all students. Under local law, students 12 and older must be fully vaccinated on all scheduled pediatric vaccinations as well as the COVID-19 vaccination to attend class.  

But according to data obtained from D.C. Health Department, more than 25 percent of D.C. Public School students are still not vaccinated. 

Originally, Bowser and School District Chief Lewis Ferebee said all children 12 and older must be vaccinated by the first day of school to attend public or private schools in the District.

But now, the required COVID-19 vaccination date has been pushed back to Jan. 3, when students return to school from winter break.  

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