Friday, March 13, 2020

Ward 5 CM McDuffie: Coronavirus update

Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 7:42 AM
Subject: [WARD5] FW: Coronavirus Update from CM McDuffie
Neighbors – Please see below for an update on Coronavirus response from Councilmember McDuffie.

Please note that one additional measure has come to light since this email was sent less than an hour ago: Starting Monday, March 16, through Tuesday March 31, DC Public Schools (DCPS) will implement distance learning. Students will not report to schools during that time. Full details on schools here:

From: Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie 
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2020 7:00 AM
Subject: Coronavirus Update

As we continue to be impacted by Coronavirus, I want to update residents on how I have been working to counter what is now a global pandemic. Mayor Bowser declared a state of emergency as well as a public health emergency in the District of Columbia on Wednesday, March 11th. Since the beginning of the crisis, I have maintained close contact via daily briefings with District public health professionals leading our response. I encourage everyone to stay up to date with the latest information at
The health and safety of residents is my primary concern. I ask everyone to remain vigilant in doing the simple things that we know can help stem the spread of this highly contagious virus: washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and hot water; using hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands; avoid touching your face; and seeking medical attention if you have symptoms such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath. DC Health has recommended that non-essential gatherings of more than 1,000 people be postponed or canceled, and Events DC has closed operations, including the convention center, until at least March 31st. Other notable District institutions, including all Smithsonian buildings and National Zoo, are closed to the public as of Saturday. The Washington City Paper is keeping an updated list of closures in the region.
I know that parents of school-age children face a lot of uncertainty about the status of our schools. District officials continue to assess the need to close the schools with the recognition that not all parents can telework to stay home with their kids, and some of our children rely on the meals provided at school. DC Public Schools have shifted an already scheduled teacher development day from Friday, March 20th to Monday, March 16th (, so that teachers and staff are up to speed on contingency plans for distance learning, should those need to go into effect.
These measures to save lives and stop the spread of Coronavirus continue to disrupt our economy and threaten the livelihoods of many residents. The Council will be taking up emergency and temporary legislative bills on Tuesday, March 17th, to address many of these areas of concern. We will seek to prohibit evictions and disconnection of gas, water, and electric service while under a public health emergency. We will also allow pharmacists to refill prescriptions before any required waiting period to allow residents to stock up on medication. You can see an initial draft of the legislation here. The bill covers an array of measures expanding unemployment insurance, providing both tax relief and operating assistance to small businesses, and providing for paid leave for hourly workers among other critical policies.
These are difficult times, and we are taking steps to navigate these fluctuating conditions. Despite what lies ahead, I believe the Council, the District government, and our residents are capable of pulling together to face down this crisis. Again, I encourage all residents to remain vigilant and take every precaution to keep yourselves and our community safe.
In service,





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