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Northshore School District parents frustrated over slow return to in-person learning

While many school districts have returned or have announced plans to return to in-person learning, the Northshore School District has yet to do either.

BOTHELL, Wash — Monday was another day of double duty for Krysta Wogen, who is playing both mom and teacher to her kids who attend the Northshore School District in Bothell. 

After a year of homeschooling, she said the social and emotional impacts are taking a toll on her first and third grade children, and the current system is doing more harm than good.

"My oldest has had panic attacks," Wogen said. "I've heard kids on Zoom crying, saying they hate this. Saying they don't want to go to school anymore."

While most school districts have either brought kids back to class part-time or are moving that way, the Northshore School District still hasn't announced a date for a return to in-person learning.

Northshore was seen as a leader in Washington when it was the first district in the state to close its schools and move to all virtual classrooms early last March.

RELATED: Northshore schools adjust to 'new normal' as classes move online in coronavirus response

Wogen now wonders if schools will open at all this year.

"It seems like a decision has already been made and was made a long time ago to keep kids out of school and do a full year with no chance of hybrid," she said.

Wogen pointed to a memorandum of understanding between the district and its teachers outlining when they will return to their classrooms. She said the language is very vague.

"There's nothing that quantifies what healthy means," said Wogen. "There are no numbers. There's nothing that says when we have these rates or when we hit these numbers we will return to school."

Wogen specifically called out Northshore Superintendent Michelle Reid, who just last week was named state superintendent of the year.

Wogen, a former teacher, said Reid has not lived up to the accolades.

"Why is it that every other school district was able to release a date within a week of the governor's announcement [to reopen schools] and our school district can't? I don't feel that our superintendent is looking out for kids."

So, for now, it's back to homeschool, and Wogen is left worrying about the damage she fears is being done to her kids with each school day that passes.

"These are the types of problems, social and emotional, that you don't see until your kid reenters the school environment," she said.

KING 5 contacted the Northshore School District and Superintendent Reid for comment regarding Wogen's concerns. 

A district spokesperson shared the following:

"Dr. Reid updates the community through multiple channels, including her Friday Weekly COVID/Reopening Updates and our Reopening webpage, which will continue to be updated. When there is an update to be shared or clarified, Dr. Reid also communicates through the Northshore Learns News livestream on Wednesdays. Before the end of the year, Dr. Reid will have made a virtual visit to every school in the District. Each visit begins with a meet and greet for any parent/guardian who wishes to join. She comes with no agenda but to answer questions and hear concerns or ideas. So far, she has met with parents/guardians from 15 schools. 

Dr. Reid also meets with a small group of about 30 parents/guardians who gather concerns and ideas from families across the District and discuss them with Dr. Reid and the group. Some members of that group have provided us with valuable problem-solving and community-building ideas. All of them provide the parent/guardian perspective that continues to inform our next steps and ongoing work. Dr. Reid and staff also work with PTSA leadership on this topic. She and staff are also doing her best to respond to the hundreds of emails she receives."

RELATED: Northshore's Michelle Reid awarded National Superintendent of the Year

RELATED: Washington lawmaker urges schools to swap spring and summer breaks

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