Hearst Family Update

October 17, 2021

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Principal's Message

Dear Hearst Families,

This past week was an interesting one with several highs including the student council elections and school rules committee meeting (more to come on this) and one very low low with the injury of one of our students after school. In the midst of all we all had going on last week and the challenge of kids returning to school after five days away, I hope that you were able to find your own moments of joy and positivity to remind you why it is that you love and appreciate our Hearst community.

For me there were two moments this past week and the first was when a parent of one student helped a fellow dad and that dad's child, who was having a bit of a tough transition into school. Thank you, Mr. Rasheed, for exemplifying the Hearst value of being service-oriented when you arrived with an extra Owl in tow on Wednesday morning!

The second moment of joy occurred during a conversation with a student on Thursday who very vehemently stated that he didn't like student council elections. When I asked why, he said that elections make him choose one person and he wants everyone to be included. If that doesn't exemplify our Hearst value of inclusion, I'm not sure what does!

I hope you had a great weekend and here's to many moments of joy in the coming week,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • October 27 - LSAT Meeting, 4:30-5:30
  • November 2 - Election Day (no school for students or teachers)
  • November 5 - End of Term/ Half Day PD & Half Day Records Day (No School for Students); Open House, 9:00-9:45 (virtual)
  • November 10 - PTA Meeting
  • November 11 - Veteran's Day (no school for all)

FAQs From Families

Q. Is it possible to do all of the weekly test sample collection outside instead of inside the gym, at least when the weather is cooperating?

A: This has been happening for several weeks and we expect it to continue moving forward.

Q. Parents were wondering if there's an existing air quality monitoring system in place in the school to ensure the ventilation and air filtration are working properly? If so, is it possible to share that data with the school community? If there isn’t such a system in place, would the school be interested in provision of an air quality monitor by the PTA?

To give you background, the issue of air quality monitoring systems was recently discussed in this New York Times article, which spurred parent questions about such monitoring at Hearst.

A: Please visit https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/health/buildings/ for Hearst's air quality report.

Q. Once children are fully vaccinated, will fully vaccinated students still need to submit the daily health check form?

A: We will follow the DCPS guidance on this when that guidance is issued.

Q. Is there any update from DCPS regarding the possibility of re-introducing nasal swab testing for students who cannot do the saliva test?

A: I have not received any updates about this from DCPS or OSSE, the entity that manages the testing program.

Q. Are there any ways parents can help students prepare for possibly having to supply a saliva sample? Are there any tips to disseminate to ensure kids can successfully produce enough saliva, such as hydrating before coming to school or before testing?

A: DCPS has provide this Video of Shield T3 testing instructions. It may be helpful to show your child the video, particularly starting at the 1:29 mark. It may be helpful for kids to hydrate before testing, however they cannot eat or drink anything in the hour prior to testing.

Q. Some parents have noticed students entering the playground before 8:30am and/or cutting to the front of the health check line, while other students are waiting their turn. Is there a way to ensure all students follow the same required procedures?

A: The students going to the front of the line are often students who come to school by themselves with no parent/guardian escort. We will continue to remind the students that they need to line up in the order they arrived and to not go directly to the front of the line. Know that regardless of when they enter the playground, all students are participating in the screening process.

Q. Some parents have noticed students in their children's classrooms using masks with vents or exhalation valves during the school day. To provide some clarification for the community, can you provide the DCPS policy on whether masks with vents or exhalation valves are allowed to be used in the school?

A: The DCPS Health and Safety Guidance released to schools at the beginning of this school year did not mention that masks with valves/vents are not allowed. However, there is a separate mask policy that bans these masks. DCPS will be updating their guidance to include the full mask policy so it is clear that masks with valves/vents are not allowed to be worn. We will continue to provide reminders to staff and students that these masks are not allowed at school and ask that families do not send their kids to school with masks with vents/valves.

Reminder: Playground & Field Use

DPR has given Hearst ES permits to have exclusive use of the upper soccer field from 8:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday and exclusive use of the playgrounds and basketball court from 10:45am-1:45pm Monday through Friday. DPR is not able to put up signs indicating that times the play areas are permitted to the school but we will put up signs this week.

If staff bring students to the playgrounds and/or basketball court and concrete area between the playgrounds outside of the 10:45-1:45 window, there may be community members in these spaces and they will have to share the space with them. Please also note that DPR does not have a mask policy outside at their facilities, so please know that if our kids are also sharing the play spaces with community members before 10:45 or after 1:45, it is not guaranteed that the community members will be wearing masks.

Reminder: Asymptomatic Student Testing on Tuesday

As a reminder, our asymptomatic testing window will be every Tuesday from 2:15-3:00pm. During a typical week, we will test a random sample of 35 students each week and attempt to test at least one student from each homeroom each week. Here are a few things to know about asymptomatic testing :

  • Teachers will be provided with names of students to be tested and those students will be escorted by staff to our testing location.
  • Because the test is a saliva test, students identified for testing cannot eat or drink an hour before their testing window.

Families of kids who are tested will receive notification that their child was tested and information on how to access the online portal where they will be able to view results. Your child may indicate that they were pulled for testing but they were not given a letter with online portal log in information. If this is the case, this means that your child did not produce enough saliva to fill the test tube. Please reach out to Ms. Johnson (kestaganer.johnson@k12.dc.gov) with any questions and/or if you would like to opt your child out of asymptomatic testing. If you wish to opt-out your student from receiving any COVID-19 test at school, you must complete the available at osse.dc.gov/page/school-based-covid-19-testing and email it to the school at kestaganer.johnson@k12.dc.gov.


To access results for asymptomatic testing, visit https://shieldt3k12.pointnclick.com/. Our Agency Code is: HearstES. Once in the site, you should be able to enable notifications be sent to you if a testing result is available for your child.

We believe that the email you use to register on site has to be the primary contact's email used to enroll your child. You will also have to wait at least 12 hours until after the student was tested for the agency code to work. We've also heard from families that some of the challenges that they were experiencing were sometimes, but not always, resolved by switching internet browsers. If none of these solutions work, please call technical support for the website at (833) 762-0762.

News and Announcements from DCPS

K-8 Family Curriculum Guides are Now Available

Share the family curriculum guides with your school community to give them a snapshot of what K-8th graders are learning at school and activities they can try at home. Guides are available on the DCPS website.

Reminder: #ReopenStrong Update

As part of our layered mitigation strategy against COVID-19, DCPS has updated the #ReopenStrong webpage with a wealth of information: https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/health/buildings/ Please read for yourself and share widely with your communities to stay abreast on our efforts in the following categories:

· HVAC Enhancements

· School Specific HVAC Enhancement Reports

· School Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Reports (will be updated monthly)

· Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Report Explainer

· School Specific Building Readiness Checklists

· Enhanced Cleaning Protocol

Reminder: SY 2022-2023 Calendar is Now Published

The school year calendar for SY22-23 is now available on the DCPS Website and has been updated to include the Juneteenth holiday.

Reminder: Provide Feedback on the Proposed SY 23-26 Calendars (10/22)

To enable future planning and in alignment with DCMR regulations, DCPS will release the SY 23-26 calendars this upcoming winter. To support this process, proposed calendars area available for public feedback at this link. Please share this link with your school community (staff, families, students, etc.) to ensure all schools have the opportunity to shape our future calendars.

Reminder: DCPS Parent University

Servicio de interpretación en español disponible para todas las sesiones.

We are beyond excited to launch our Parent University fall calendar! We’ll kick off the season with a session on how to make the most of parent-teacher conferences on September 28 at 5:30pm. Register for each session below or at bit.ly/dcpsparentursvp.

Prepare Your Child for College: College Prep Resources and How to Get them!

October 19th

Join families across the District and DCPS Central Office teams to learn how we can can collaborate to enrich your child's education.


The DCPS Journey to Become a Whole-Child Centered, Anti-Racist District

October 26th

Join families across the District and DCPS Central Office teams to learn how we can can collaborate to enrich your child's education.


Building Children's Language Skills One Conversation at A Time

November 3rd

Join us to learn more about simple strategies for supporting your young child's language development at home!


Check-in on Our Social Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

November 16th

Join families across the District and DCPS Central Office teams to learn how we can can collaborate to enrich your child's education.


Choosing the Right Program: Your Questions about Pre-K at DCPS Answered!

December 1st

Thinking about the Pre-K Lottery? Join us to learn more about what makes the DCPS Pre-K program unique!


Elegir el mejor programa para su familia: Pre-Kinder en las DCPS

December 8th

¡Únase a nosotros para obtener más información sobre lo que hace que el programa de prekínder de DCPS sea único!


Reminder: SY21-22 Food and Nutrition Services Updates

  • All meals are free to all DCPS Students in SY 21/22. We still encourage students who attend SOP (paid) schools like Hearst to complete a Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) application to ensure student eligibility for other benefits and school funding.
  • Close-contact quarantine students, through their parent or guardian, are eligible to receive meal kits from one of the following locations, every Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM:
· Columbia Heights Education Campus
· Dunbar High School
· Ron Brown High School
· Ballou High School

  • Here is the link to the SY21-22 Dietary Accommodation Forms. Any student that requires a different meal than what is being served (due to medical, food allergy, or philosophical reason) must complete this attached form and submit it to dietary.forms@k12.dc.gov or to the cafeteria lead. This allows us to create menus and prepare meals that reflect the unique needs of each student. Effective immediately, new forms are required only when the student requires a new accommodation or a change to their accommodation.
  • Follow us on social media to stay tuned with our latest events on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using @DCPSEats.

  • More Helpful Links:
  • SY21-22 FARM Application(SOP sites only)
  • DCPS Website | Food and Nutrition Services

Reminder: Student Immunization Requirements for In-person Attendance

Schools are reminded to alert families about the importance of submitting health forms, including updated immunization records and Universal Health Certificates. All students must have updated immunization records on file with the school. Students who are not compliant with their immunizations are not to attend past 20 school days, until appropriate records are submitted. View OSSE’s Immunization Attendance policy here. Please email health forms to manik.hinchey@k12.dc.gov or send them in with your students.