Are Washington Schools Open

Danielle Fletcher
• Wednesday, 18 November, 2020
• 8 min read

The sleep patterns of students at Roosevelt High School were studied before and after the district pushed start times later in the fall of 2016. Every school district across Western Washington has a different set of challenges for instruction in 2021 as it navigates the effects of coronavirus on students and staff.

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(Source: www.dchsglendive.com)


The state Department of Health’s Decision Tree was created to help districts decide when to open. My Northwest has put together a reopening tracker so that it’s easier to compare districts’ plans as they develop throughout the school year.

Based on the progression of COVID-19 metrics and guidance from the health department, the earliest we will bring grades 3-12 back for in-person learning in a hybrid model is February 2. We are hopeful we might bring our youngest learners back earlier than the older students.

Our current plan is to evaluate the health data in mid-December to determine if a mid-January return in hybrid is feasible for students in Preschool through 2nd grade. Elementary students will only be brought back for broad in-person learning in January, following Winter Break.

Any decision at that time will be subject to review of the health data conditions for King County. Secondary students will only be brought back for broad in-person learning for the second semester of the school year.

Any decision at that time will be subject to review of the health data conditions for King County. FPS, like most of the surrounding districts, decided to start the 2020-21 school year providing 100% remote learning.

(Source: www.flickr.com)

The Kent School District will remain in remote learning for the first semester of this year through January 28. We made this decision primarily based on the data that the COVID-19 activity rates in the SD community remain higher than King County overall and continue to stay above the maximum level the Department of Health has set for when schools may safely reopen for in-person learning.

From the superintendent: The MID staff and elementary schools are ready to bring our kindergarten students back on January 6 as planned. The Early Childhood program successfully and fully reopened at North wood after Thanksgiving, which makes us confident kindergarten will be a success, allowing us to remain on schedule and bring first-graders back on January 19.

Given the current trajectory of the data, at this time it is unlikely that the Renton School District will offer an in-person Preschool through 5th grade hybrid model option before January 2021. The most likely scenario is that the vast majority of students will continue with remote learning through at least the end of December.

A task force will monitor progress, implementation and efficacy of the reopening plan and remote learning model, and to advise the Board and Superintendent throughout the 2020 – 2021 school year. We will continue to monitor all available data and will provide families and staff at least two weeks’ notice before beginning to offer a hybrid learning option.

We will continue to monitor community and regional data and public health guidance to determine a timeline for switching to a hybrid model of instruction. We are disappointed to announce that rising rates of COVID-19 transmission in King County have led us to delay inviting Tahoma students in preschool through grade 2 back to classrooms on Oct. 19.

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(Source: www.facebook.com)

Tequila School District staff are starting to develop plans for the potential return of our early learners and examining what this experience might look like. Part of the planning process knows whether families have a preference to have their students return for some in-person learning or to stay with a distance-learning option.

Note: There may be exceptions for students with special education whose disabilities significantly impact their access to an online learning environment. Most of our older students will remain in a fully remote learning model until at least the end of first semester (January 28).

Students in kindergarten and first grade will be the first groups to transition to in person learning in the classroom. Kindergarten and first grade hybrid students started attending school on-site part-time on Oct. 12.

Current projections would place Harrington in a remote learning model through at least the first academic quarter (November 6, 2021). Plans have been in motion for weeks to bring four (4) groups of self-contained special education students back, and our goal is November 2.

During the summer, we shared approximate dates with our families for when we saw it logistically possible to transition to in-person learning, which would be the start of each new quarter/semester (Nov. 12, 2020; Feb. 3, 2021; April 14, 2021). We will continue to use those dates to guide us on major shifts, but the sooner we can get some of our students back to in-person learning, the better.

(Source: was.millburn.org)

At this time, we do not know when we will move forward with Phases 2-4 (see graphic below) of our Hybrid Learning Plan. This transition will be dependent on COVID-19 infection rates and guidance from the Snohomish Health District.

In the Marysville School District, we opened with a plan called “Continuous Learning 2.0” that will have a three-prong approach based on health and safety and the primary considerations developed by the community workgroup. We are currently planning to welcome back our developmental preschool and all kindergarten students as early as October 12.

Superintendent Nelson shared that due to rising COVID-19 cases in our county and specifically within district boundaries, tentative plans to bring back some students starting Oct. 26 would be postponed. The school board decided to postpone the tentative October 26 in-person start date for our preschool through 2nd grade classrooms.

Dr. Sitters emailed guidance to school leaders asking them to “not move ahead now on any plans to bring in additional students.” He also stressed that, at this time, “there is no need to go backward at schools that have already started to bring in students Kindergarten to 3rd grade, or those with special needs.” We will be meeting with Dr. Sitters on Tuesday, October 20th, to discuss our plans to bring back 4th and 5th grade students for face-to-face instruction on October 26th. The Ethel School District will not return to in-person learning in October due to the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County.

All students will continue in our current remote learning instructional model through at least mid November. It is their recommendation, based on COVID-19 cases in OUR county RIGHT NOW, that it would be unsafe to open schools in early September.

crimson district st george
(Source: www.stgeorgeutah.com)

Based on the concerning increase in the rate of county COVID-19 cases and updated health department information, the district will delay launching hybrid learning for students and will remain in virtual learning: We will continue our work and planning that we have begun that currently targets a November 2nd return for students in preschool through fifth grade.

It is difficult to say today whether we can stick with that November date, but for the time being we will wait and see what happens with transmission rates in Pierce County. Eatonville School District elementary students enrolled in any of the district’s three elementary may start to return to school in-person at the end of the month, if Pierce County continues to meet COVID-19 targets set by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and state Department of Health.

This next phase is called the hybrid model, in which students learn two days in their school and three days at home with Wednesdays continuing from home using the current “Wednesday Distance Learning Schedule.” From the superintendent: Fife Public Schools will not be transitioning to a hybrid learning model on November 2nd, which was our target date established on September 28th.

Students will be divided into two cohorts to increase engagement, reduce screen time, and create flexible alternatives for families. There are far too many factors to base our decision-making on a specific number as our only metric for reopening.

We do not want to pivot back and forth between opening, delaying, or additional closures due to changing advice by the TP CHD and increasingly risky conditions for our children. The Task Force plans to reconvene and discuss the next steps in reopening Opting Schools on October 20, 2021.

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(Source: www.liherald.com)

PSD is currently providing safe, in-person learning for preschool, K-1 students and other small groups. If COVID-19 case rates move to and stabilize at the “Moderate” level, in mid-December, we will notify families of our intent to have elementary students (grades K-5) begin our hybrid model on January 4th, 2021 (immediately following Winter Break).

While it was a very difficult decision, we believe it is the right one for the health and safety of our students and staff, especially in light of the continuous increase in COVID-19 cases. Our district team continues to stay in close contact with the health department and monitor the data.

White River schools will start this fall with every student in distance learning. District leaders said their relative success at in-person education during the pandemic stems from a mixture of luck, well-timed innovation, flexibility, determination and careful planning.

Some also pointed to strong, consistent communication with their local public health officers as a critical element. But at the core of many superintendents’ advice was to embrace their own learning curve about how to run a school district during a pandemic.

This past fall, the Moses Lake School District, home to some 8,500 students in Central Washington, welcomed nearly a third of its elementary kids back to its campuses five days a week. Superintendent Joshua Meek acknowledged that the district had a leg up last March, when Inslee first shut down the state, since it had long worked technology into their school infrastructure.

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(Source: www.nytimes.com)

During the 2020 spring semester, the district had ample time to adjust its approach to online learning, with the intention of bringing students back in the fall. But in the end he feels he made the right decision and urges districts not only to “believe that you can do it,” but to keep in close communication with everyone, from the school nurses to the community.

Multiple superintendents credited outreach to families as key to offering students a quality education in difficult times. Ellensburg has a truly hybrid model, with students split into two schedule groups and each attending school in person on different days.

The district eased into school in the fall by first phasing in higher-need students beginning on Sept. 9 and bringing everyone else back in October. During the planning and decision process, Ellensburg Superintendent Singer Haber er held listening Zoom sessions that attracted as many as 200 participants.

Hearing directly from the community helped Haber er decide to offer hybrid classes. Communication with parents wasn’t the only important way the district needed to build solid relationships.

Backhand said success is a result of a multilayered … “Swiss cheese” plan, from communication, to working with families and students, to having everyone wear masks and wash their hands and staying home if they feel sick. That left the district with too few drivers to pick up students based on the newly adjusted bus route schedule.

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They decided to have drivers run their buses out, pick up some kids and drop them off at school and then turn right around and do it again. Superintendent Traci Pierce estimated that nearly half of all the students, mostly kindergarten through fifth grade, are on campus part-time.

In February, the district plans to phase in middle and high school students for hybrid learning. Similarly, the Moses Lake School District is also allowing parents to send their students back to campus after starting the year remote.

For other superintendents on the same path, Pierce said she thinks districts should feel confident about bringing students back to class, so long as they follow all the state and OSI guidelines.

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