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Our Plan for Reopening Snoqualmie Valley Schools in 2020

 Rob Manahan

Please click here for a video message from Superintendent Robert Manahan, regarding reopening schools in the fall.

 

 

July 8, 2020

 

Dear Snoqualmie Valley School District families,

 

Thank you for your patience as we develop the plan for

 

Reopening Snoqualmie Valley Schools for the 2020-21 school year. As we’ve mentioned, our desire is to serve all students face-to-face at school, when it is safe to do so. Until then, our district has been hard at work developing a plan that supports student learning and complies with new state mandates for providing educational services with extra safety measures. Today, I am sharing a high-level overview of what Snoqualmie Valley families can expect in the fall.

 

The following plan is based on current guidance from the state -- from the Governor’s Office, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Washington’s Department of Health -- which encourages reopening schools, as much as possible, while also establishing safeguards at school to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Currently schools are required to support social distancing in classrooms (which reduces class sizes) and take other precautions to maintain a healthy learning environment. 

 

Along with these mandates, we looked at some core values as we began to consider how the fall might look.

  • We value the health and safety of our students, staff and families.
  • We value a robust learning experience for all students regardless of socio-economic factors, race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, academic capacity or any other aspect of their identity.
  • We value staff capacity and professional development needs.
  • We value staff, parent and family work schedules and childcare needs.
  • We value the social-emotional needs for students and staff.
  • We value connections and relationships between students, staff and families.

 

Our plan also reflects feedback gathered through surveys of our students, staff and parents on their remote learning experience this spring; a community-wide Thoughtexchange discussion on reopening schools; and input from workgroups comprised of 100+ representatives from district and school staff in all departments, students, parents, board members, and community members. Thanks to all who shared their thoughts and concerns about serving students during the pandemic. 

 

As a result, our district is planning for four models next fall. Together, these models represent a range of options, combining remote online learning and in-person instruction. By limiting the number of students in school at the same time, these models enable our schools to adhere to the social distancing requirements, while also building in regular connections with students.

 

FOUR LEARNING MODELS:

  • Fulltime In-Person Model (for Kindergarten through 2nd grades, plus some special programs such as Preschool, Transition Learning Center, Specialty/Life Skills) – Our desire is for these groups to attend in-person full-time, 4-5* days a week. This model supports select groups of students for whom in-person instruction better suits their learning and developmental needs. (NOTE: We still need to verify if this will be possible for all three grade levels: K, 1st and 2nd. The upcoming parent survey will help us quantify how many families will choose at-home learning, to know if our classroom capacities with social distancing can adequately serve in-person attendance.)

 

  • Hybrid A/B Model (for grades 3 - 12) – Students will be designated into two groups (A & B, split alphabetically) with alternating schedules. Each group will attend 2 days on campus for in-person instruction and participate in at-home learning the remaining days each week. Group A will attend school in person Mondays and Thursdays, while Group B will attend in person Tuesdays and Fridays. The days they are not in class physically, students will engage in remote learning at home. *Wednesday schedules are still to be determined. (See the graphic below for a weekly rotation plan.)

 

  • Fulltime Remote Learning Model (open to all grade levels) – Our district understands some families may choose not to attend school in-person. Therefore, families will have the option to choose a 100% online learning option for the first semester. We plan to support those students with a program similar to last spring but with improvements focused on greater connections, engagement and best practices for remote learning. Staff will be designated to support the fulltime remote learning and be provided with additional training for remote learning.

 

  • Distance Learning 2.0 – The district is also preparing a contingency plan in the event that we must close schools again and initiate remote continuous learning for all. We are calling this Distance Learning 2.0 since we will leverage lessons learned from last spring to support a more effective educational program. This full-scale shift to remote learning for all students will be implemented if public health closes a school or the Governor again issues a “Stay Home” order, due to a surge in COVID infections. (NOTE: The three models above are options that families may choose; Distance Learning 2.0 is not a choice but rather our district’s emergency plan, if needed, for continuous learning during a closure.)

 

Graphic of SVSD Learning Model for fall 2020

 

*Wednesday schedules are still to be determined as staff look at how best to use this time. These days could continue with the same hybrid type of schedule rotating groups on Wednesdays, or focus on groups of students for interventions with full remote learning for most. This time could also be used for professional development and teacher collaboration/planning, as well as additional disinfecting mid-week.

 

Special Education services will be determined by program. Services and therapy support will be determined by Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams.

 

PRIORITIZING SAFETY

We recognize that any in-person model carries some risk.  However, extensive procedures will be put into place to limit the transmission of COVID and maintain a safe learning environment. Our district is working on safety measures that are mandated by the Governor, OSPI and Department of Health for all Washington schools. Currently -- all students and staff will be required to wear masks; social distancing in classrooms (6 feet apart); plus there are protocols for monitoring for illness, disinfecting common touch surfaces regularly, serving meals, promoting hand hygiene, and transporting students. (This Question & Answer document from OSPI provides clarification on the new rules for schools.) By the time school starts August 31, new safety measures and training will take place throughout our school system. Keeping our families and schools safe during this pandemic is a shared responsibility among all staff, parents and students. 

 

PLANNING CONTINUES

We understand the challenges these models may present regarding parent work schedules and childcare. By providing this high-level information now, we hope families can start to plan ahead and make arrangements.

 

Additionally, our district teams continue to plan for operational and logistical considerations that include appropriate social distancing, screening protocols, cleaning requirements and emergency response. We are considering implications to transportation, food service, health services, facility safety/security, human resources, business services and communication. Our Teaching and Learning team is focused on enhancing professional development around remote learning, consistent communication, social emotional supports, digital learning resources, scheduling challenges, extra-curricular activities, and the Distance Learning 2.0 plan for pivoting back to fully remote instruction if needed. Some planning still hinges on more clarification from the state and other aspects require defining new protocols in partnership with our employment associations, so we appreciate your patience.

 

That said, we are committed to providing updates to families and staff, as details are confirmed.

 

NEXT STEPS: Watch for a parent/guardian survey coming soon…

Parents/guardians, please watch for and respond to an important survey next week, which will need to be completed for every SVSD student. The district will ask two key questions that are imperative to subsequent planning around the capacities of our classrooms and buses, and scheduling decisions moving forward.  You will be asked if you want to choose the option of Fulltime Remote Learning (100% online) for the first trimester/semester.  Also, to help reduce ridership on school busses and allow for more distancing between students, we’d like families to consider if they may be able to walk, bike, carpool or transport their own students directly to/from school next year.  Accordingly, you will be asked to confirm if your student will need school bus transportation. This survey will be available through Family Access on July 15. We will send another notice alerting families when it is ready. Until then, please think about your family’s needs and preferences to be able to confirm those two questions.

 

THANK YOU

As we work through the complexities that this pandemic presents, we want to thank our students, staff and families for your patience, support and partnership to support the health and safety of our learning community.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert W. Manahan, Ed. D

Superintendent, Snoqualmie Valley School District