Updated 7:12 a.m.
All District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) will be closed Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, to allow for a thorough assessment of school buildings following Tuesday’s earthquake. School staff, except for custodians, should not report to work today. Custodians should remain on stand-by. DCPS administrative offices will open and staff should report to work on time, said Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
"Understanding the impact to working parents and families, we made every effort to keep schools open,” Chancellor Henderson said.
“However, we felt it would be best to have qualified structural engineers thoroughly inspect all 126 school buildings so our parents and community members could feel confident we've placed the highest priority around ensuring the safety and well-being of their children."
The Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) on Tuesday deployed structural engineers who worked through the night to inspect each school, advise the Chancellor and Mayor Vincent C. Gray on any recommended closures, and prioritize repairs. Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson determined the most prudent course of action was to close schools to allow for a thorough inspection of DCPS buildings district-wide.
OPEFM and Chancellor Henderson will discuss the condition of DC Public School buildings today at Mayor Gray’s weekly press briefing. Parents and families should continue to monitor the DCPS website, www.dcps.dc.gov, as well as DCPS social media ( @DCPublicSchools on Twitter and facebook.com/dcpublicschools).
Updated 10:50 p.m.
Though all Georgetown schools will be open Wednesday, MacFarland Middle School, Roosevelt High School and School Without Walls High School will be closed Wednesday, Aug. 24, due to damages sustained in Tuesday’s earthquake. At this time, all other DC Public Schools will open tomorrow, and students and staff members should plan to report on time to school and work, said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
DCPS school-based and custodial staff conducted preliminary inspections of all 126 school buildings Tuesday afternoon. The Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) then deployed structural engineers to inspect each school, advise the Chancellor and Mayor on any recommended closures, and prioritize repairs.
“I want to assure the entire DCPS community that every effort is being made to ensure that our schools are safe for students and staff following Tuesday’s earthquake,” said Chancellor Henderson.
“We acted swiftly – and with the utmost concern for the safety of our school community – to assess damage and inform our schools and families of the actions have taken. And we will continue to update the community as information becomes available.”
Tuesday, all DC Public Schools were evacuated as a result of the earthquake that struck the Washington, D.C., area at about 1:51 p.m. A number of DC Public Schools sustained minor damage and two students, one at Kelly Miller Middle School in Ward 7 and another at Deal Middle School in Ward 3, received minor injuries. No serious injuries were reported.
DCPS officials are currently working with school leaders and custodial staff to survey damage at all 126 DC Public Schools and will issue an update later this evening. Parents and families should monitor the DCPS website, www.dcps.dc.gov, as well as DCPS social media ( @DCPublicSchools on Twitter and facebook.com/dcpublicschools).
Schools followed emergency procedures to safely evacuate students and DCPS took immediate action to notify parents and families of the steps taken to ensure the safety of their children.
DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson remained in constant contact with the Mayor’s Office and DC emergency response officials to determine the scope of the emergency and appropriate district-wide measures to ensure public safety. The City Administrator has instructed the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization to conduct inspections at all DC Public Schools buildings, including administrative offices.
Dismissal occurred as usual at 3:15 p.m. and parents were able to pick up their children. After school programs remain in session this evening due to the volume of traffic currently on District roads and the ability of parents to pick up their children.