What will school in Snoqualmie Valley look like in the fall?
The Snoqualmie Valley School District has begun planning for a 2020-21 school year around a variety of scenarios that follow state requirements for social distancing to ensure student safety – based on new clarifications on the OSPI Guidelines published on June 11.
For an overview, watch this video message from Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, published June 20, in which he clarifies guidance to our state’s 295 school districts. (Video is approx. 12 minutes)
Supt. Reykdal explains, "In almost every district, there'll be some version of remote learning or some kind of blended learning...and not necessarily have access to the traditional (face-to-face) systems just given the exact health limitations that our districts are under."
The new requirements that will dictate our planning for reopening schools include:
Strict health rules that require school districts to keep students six feet apart in classrooms, to ensure their health and safety, mean not all students will be able to attend class at the same time.
And, the state Department of Health (DOH) has mandated that all staff and students must wear face coverings (masks) unless the individual has a health condition that makes them unable to wear one.
OSPI also posted this Question & Answer document this week in response to a number of questions raised by school districts, parents and others about fall reopening plans.
To outline a feasible plan for Snoqualmie Valley schools, district work groups, that include department leaders, school administrators, union leadership, school board directors, and staff representing a wide range of roles, have been meeting regularly. In addition to compliance with the state requirements, they are taking into consideration priorities identified through surveys of students, staff, parents and community members over the past few weeks.
At this time, the Snoqualmie Valley School District is examining options that may include some full day everyday face-to-face instruction for specific groups of students, hybrid combinations of in-school and online learning, as well as a full 100% online option.
The District will communicate an overview of the plan the week of July 6 – to give families a clearer sense of what they can expect in the fall. Staff will need the remainder of the summer, however, to flush out the many details and complexities around implementation. (School district plans are due to OSPI mid-August.)
District staff teams have already started work on a number of planning actions that include:
Analyzing school-by-school, classroom-by-classroom to determine new classroom capacities given the mandatory six-foot social distancing requirement.
Preparing laptops turned in by graduating seniors to be re-assigned to all incoming 6th grade students in the fall, as part of our district’s one-to-one device initiative. Purchasing additional devices as needed.
Exploring new meal service options for students.
More training on our district’s Learning Management System Schoology to support a consistent platform among teachers for assigning, collaborating, and turning in school work. Offering professional development to enhance distance teaching skills and leverage best practice strategies.
Examining state guidance around healthy transportation of students to determine changes regarding school bus service and protocols.
Ordering additional supplies and equipment to help prevent and monitor illness, and maintain a healthy learning environment.
Collaborating with union leadership on staffing considerations.
The following guiding principles are factored into this important work:
Use a lens of equity and access to serve all students;
Follow the health department guidelines;
Incorporate lessons learned from closing schools in spring 2020;
Reduce person-to-person contact with fewer students and staff on site at any one time;
Prioritize content students need to learn;
Support social and emotional needs of students;
Attempt to keep students from the same families on similar schedules;
Consider new staff roles needed in some areas;
Maintain our functional and financial responsiveness.
Given the uncertainties around the pandemic, we will also need plan for contingencies around an outbreak or another state-wide closure by the Governor.
Please continue to read updates from our school district throughout this summer. Additionally, please watch for and participate in upcoming surveys. Timely input from families and staff will be vital to helping us provide support and resources where needed.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as the District prepares for the first day of school, August 31.