WEC’s Return to School FAQs

FAQs for Volunteers

This document will be edited frequently to reflect new questions and/or more complete answers to existing questions. To know if updates were made since your last visit, please look at the “Last updated” field at the bottom of this section.

New Location

What is the exact address of WEC’s new location?

401 9th Street NW Washington, DC  20004

The building is located on 9th Street between D and E Streets in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. This location puts WEC in the center of Blue/Orange/Silver, Green/Yellow, and Red Metro lines, as well as multiple Metrobus routes. Specifically, the site is within walking distance of the Metro Center, Gallery Place, Archives-Navy Memorial, and Federal Triangle stations.

Is WEC already moved in?

No, our lease begins on September 15, approximately two weeks before the start of the Fall 2021 term. Until that time, our official mailing address remains: 1717 K Street NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC  20008.

COVID-19

What is WEC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy?

WEC is committed to the safety of its learning community. For that reason, staff, in-person volunteers, and in-person students are required to have received the COVID-19 vaccine. For those who have not received the vaccine or aren’t ready to return to in-person learning, online courses will be offered during the Fall term.

Will I be required to show proof of vaccination?

Yes. WEC staff will be performing a visual inspection of a physical or virtual vaccination card before volunteers and students attend classes. More details will be available about this process before the start of the fall term.

Will masks be required at WEC?

Yes. DC Government has reintroduced mask mandates for businesses in Washington, DC. WEC must abide by these policies. Masks will be required indoors throughout WEC’s offices and classrooms.

What should I do if I find out I have COVID-19? 

If you attended or taught classes at WEC during the period in which you began experiencing symptoms, or two days before receiving a positive test, you must notify WEC. Please send an email with your name, day and time that you most recently taught at WEC, and the classroom that you taught in to health@washingtonenglish.org.

WEC will inform the community of potential exposure via email. Please note that name/personally identifying information will not be shared publicly.

What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 after teaching/attending classes?

WEC will send out an email from health@washingtonenglish.org with details of potential exposure, along with resources for testing. Please note that WEC cannot share any personally identifying information about the individual who has tested positive.

When can I return to WEC after having COVID-19?

You must meet each requirement of the CDC-approved criteria to return to WEC:

  • At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
  • Other symptoms have improved.

What else is WEC doing to reduce the spread of COVID?

WEC will provide hand sanitizer/PPE in all classrooms and reserves the right to adjust preventive measures to further protect the community. We will continue to monitor updated information from DC Government and the CDC about COVID prevention. These FAQs will be updated as new information becomes available.

Academics

When does the Fall 2021 term begin?

Monday, Sep 27, 2021

At what times will in-person classes be held?

Online group classes will remain at their current times– 10:00 am-12:00 pm ET or 6:30 pm-8:30 pm ET for ESOL and 5:00 pm-6:00 pm ET for Citizenship.

In-person group classes will be held at 10:30 am – 12:30 pm ET or 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET. Citizenship will remain online only for now.

Which levels will be in-person and which will be online?

All levels– Intro through Level 6 (advanced)– will be available in-person and online, student demand permitting. Based on previous demand, Citizenship class will remain solely online for the Fall term, and we’ll reevaluate for the Winter term.

Do I understand correctly that all students starting in September will be in the A section of whatever level they’re in, and then they will move to the B section for the next term?

Yes although we don’t want you to think of them as being sequential– i.e., a student who starts in the second half of the book (“B” class) could also stay at the same level and cover the first half of the book (“A” class) in the following term.

For students whose latest class was in the A half of the level, are you recommending that they move to the next level (say 5A to 6A). Then what about the next term?

As always, the ultimate decision is the student’s. If the student scored 70-75% or higher on the final exam, we recommend they move to the next level (i.e. 5A to 6A). In the next term, all B sections will be offered. The student could then do either 5B or 6B, depending on how eager they are to either advance or reinforce learning. Either way they will be exposed to new content. There is not much difference between the difficulty of 5A and 5B (or any A and B section within a level) because it is the same textbook.

Will there be a limit on class size?

The classrooms are various sizes with the largest being able to accommodate a class of 20-25 like some of the classrooms we had at OLQA. That said, we are expecting that social distancing guidelines this fall may limit us to classes of around 15 regularly attending students max.

How are you going to determine if there are enough teachers who can teach in person?

Excellent question. One of our biggest concerns is that the demand from students will not match the supply of teachers. Hence the rush to have today’s Town Hall so that we can immediately begin recruiting volunteers later today. As always we have a detailed volunteer recruitment plan to draw volunteers from a variety of sources. And if you know anyone who may be interested in teaching online or in-person, you can help us by sharing our Fall 2021 Volunteer Flyer.

Will you allow students who miss an in-person class to make it up online?

Largely, we want to avoid students alternating back-and-forth between online and in-person. It is disruptive. While the two sections should be roughly at the same place in the curriculum in any given week, they are still being taught by two separate teams of teachers who will know their own students. Where I could see us making an exception would be if we knew a student were going to be unable to come in-person for an extended period of time– e.g., their car breaks down or they sprain their ankle and need crutches. In situations like that, we might consider letting a student (or a volunteer) switch mid-term. Otherwise it’s just too disruptive to have people switching back and forth at will.

Will tutoring also take place on site?

While it could eventually, I expect us to keep tutoring online only for the Fall. The focus really needs to be on keeping it simple and making sure that the return to in-person group classes is successful. I don’t want to overcomplicate things, especially with COVID.

Last updated 8/10/2021. If you have a question that is not answered above, please send it to operations@washingtonenglish.org and include “FAQ” in the subject line.