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In-person or remote learning in fall? Check this list for western Washington school districts

Below is a list of K-12 school districts in western Washington that have announced how students will continue their education in the fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHINGTON — As the 2020-21 school year gets closer in Washington state, many school districts are announcing plans for how education will continue in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic

Below is a list of some of the school districts in western Washington that have announced whether they will be conducting in-person learning, remote learning or a combination of both. 

Auburn School District

Superintendent Dr. Alan Spicciati of the Auburn School District announced the district will start the 2020-21 school year with a full distance learning model. 

Dr. Spicciati said they are still planning for a return to in-person instruction in a hybrid or full-time model when public health officials advise it is safe, but at that time families will still have the option to continue distance learning. 

In a letter to parents, Dr. Spicciati said "We are committed to serving our students with high-quality distance learning. There will be clear expectations, accountability and collaboration for instruction and assignments. We are developing resources and training for staff and families to support the distance learning environment. Students and staff will be held to standards. Grading practices and daily attendance expectations will return. The distance learning will be significantly improved from last spring."

The superintendent also said distance learning may not fully meet the needs of some students with special needs and English learners, so the district is evaluating how they can provide services to students who need them. 

The district expects to have more information for parents in the coming weeks.

Bellevue School District 

The Bellevue School District announced it will start the 2020-21 school year with remote learning for all families. 

The district plans to evaluate the remote start for all after the first six weeks of school, said Superintendent Ivan Duran in a letter to families

The district said families that opted to participate in a Hybrid Learning model will begin school in a Temporary Remote Learning model with a plan to move to the Hybrid Learning model when COVID-19 infection rates decrease. There will be no change for families that opted to participate in the Bellevue School District Virtual Learning model for the first semester. 

The district will be reaching out to families again to confirm their intent to enroll in either the Temporary Remote/Hybrid Learning model or the BSD Virtual Learning model. 

On July 27, the district will share with families daily remote learning schedules to provide a better understanding of what their child's learning experience will be like.

A questionnaire will be going out to families on July 28 with a due date of July 31. The responses will help the district in assigning students to educators and building schedules for middle and high school students, the district said. 

The BSD will offer limited in-person services to support students and families including childcare, services for students with specific needs and learning support at schools for elementary, middle and high school students.

Central Kitsap School District 

The Central Kitsap School District will begin the year fully remote for "at least the first nine weeks," following the Kitsap Public Health District advising against opening schools for traditional classroom learning.

The district has "developed an improved, more robust remote learning experience that will have increased expectations for student participation, more consistency for delivery of content, and better feedback to students and families."

The district has plans in place for hybrid learning models, should officials determine it safe for students to return to class. 

Clover Park School District 

Citing current data and recommendations from Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Director Dr. Anthony Chen, Clover Park School District will start the year with remote learning.

The district has a three-phase plan in place to implement in-person learning, depending on health and safety guidelines: virtual learning, hybrid learning in which students alternate time in school and at home, and in-person learning.

Read the full statement from Superintendent Ron Danner here.

Edmonds School District 

The Edmonds School District announced July 29 it will start the school year with 100% remote learning.

School leaders said they made the decision after reviewing student and staff feedback, COVID-19 data and a recommendation from the Snohomish Health District that schools implement remote learning

The district previously planned to use a hybrid learning model that included two days of in-person classes and three days of distance learning.

RELATED: Edmonds School District will have mix of remote, in-person learning in fall

Federal Way Public Schools

Federal Way Public Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with 100% remote learning.

The district said if the rate of coronavirus infection diminishes and public health guidelines support returning to in-person classes, the district will transition to a hybrid model of two days of in-person classes and three days of remote learning.

In a letter to parents and staff, Superintendent Tammy Campbell promised a "much more robust, structured, and consistent" remote learning model than in spring. The district will continue to loan laptops and will implement instructional schedules that alternate elementary, middle and high school classes when possible.

Child care will also be offered for special needs students and kindergartners through 5th graders through Right At School.

Kent School District

The Kent School District announced that schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with remote learning. 

The district looked at data from a staff and family survey, as well as guidance from health officials and the district’s Back to School Task Force in making the decision to start remotely for the upcoming school year.

Remote learning will be consistently provided with more explicit expectations and accountability for instruction and assignments, the district said. Learning opportunities and support for families on the districtwide learning management system, supplemental learning applications, and student-teacher communication platform will also be provided, according to the district. 

In the coming weeks, the district will be focusing on finalizing its improved remote learning plan, including professional learning for all staff and supports for students, families, and staff. 

The final version of the plan will be shared with the Kent School Board and posted on the district’s website on Aug. 3. Community feedback will be accepted at that time online or via Zoom. 

The remote learning school year will begin on August 27.

RELATED: Kent School District will start with remote learning in the fall

Kittitas School District

The Kittitas School Board voted to fully reopen this September. The decision now goes to Washington state for approval. 

The Kittitas School District said 70% of surveyed parents wanted in-person learning to resume this fall. 

Until the in-person learning petition is approved by the state, Kittitas schools will plan to start remotely, according to this Facebook post. 

Lake Washington School District 

The Lake Washington School District will start the 2020-21 school year with a fully remote learning model.

"This decision is being made after a thorough review of available reports and local models.  Additionally, I have spent time discussing the current state of our community and county with the King County Department of Health. Given this and the limited guidance districts have received related to re-opening school in the fall; it was decided to start the school year in a remote model," said Superintendent Dr. Jon Holmen in a letter to families.

Parents and students can expect to see changes with the upcoming remote learning model including the use of Microsoft Classroom Teams as the sole Learning Management System, synchronous/live instruction balanced through the week and varying by age of the student, daily attendance, typical grading practice and the opportunity for whole and small group experiences. 

The superintendent said some students will require in-person learning and that will help the district better plan for returning more students to in-person instruction in the future. 

The district is also still working out how to help families with childcare. More information is expected to be released in August.  

Northshore School District

The Northshore School District will continue with remote learning when classes resume in the fall.

The district is using a six-stage approach for people re-entering school. The stages allow educators to pivot between remote learning, a hybrid model, and in-person learning. The stages are determined by the impacts of the current health situation, resources, and direction from state officials.

As of July 21, the district was in Stage 2, which means 100 percent remote learning for students. Staff will have "limited and monitored access" to schools for planning and delivering instruction.

It isn't until Stage 3 when students with the "greatest need of additional support" can go to school two days a week for in-person instruction.

Each stage adds additional students to a limited number of in-class days until Stage 6, when all students and staff attend in-person class five days a week.

RELATED: Students in the Northshore School District will begin year with remote education

North Kitsap School District

After "an extensive review" of data and updates from the Kitsap Public Health District, officials with the North Kitsap School District decided to begin the school year with remote learning.

All students enrolled in the district's hybrid in-person model will also start with remote-only learning. 

After nine weeks, the district will reassess conditions in Kitsap County, evaluate guidance from state and local officials, "upon which we will base decisions about how to best serve students." 

Students in the Online Academy will learn remotely for the entire year. 

North Thurston Public Schools

UPDATE: According to the district's website, "Thurston County Public Health Officials have strongly urged that school starts with 100% remote online learning for all students."

This is a change from the district's previous plan of a hybrid learning model, which would have given students two days of in-person instruction with "continuous" remote learning off-site. 

The change was made following a health directive from Thurston County. 

Olympia School District 

The Olympia School District will start the 2020-21 school year on September 9 with a full-time distance learning model.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy said in a letter to families Thurston County Public Health officials do not recommend school districts open for in-person learning due to the current levels of COVID-19 infections.

"We cannot predict how long students will remain in full-time distance learning. This will depend on infection rates, and we will continue to rely on guidance from health and education officials to advise us when it is safe to reopen schools. When we do reopen, it will almost assuredly be in a hybrid model — a combination of in-person and distance learning. We have been planning for and preparing our schools for a hybrid model the past several months, so we will be prepared for that," said Murphy. 

Learn more about the Olympia School District's plan here.

Peninsula School District

UPDATE: According to the district's website, "Peninsula School District will plan for students to begin the 2020-2021 school year with a full remote learning model, called Remote Learning 2.0, when classes start on September 8, 2020; and bring students back for in-person learning later this year if possible."

This is a change from the district's previous plan of giving families the option to choose between in-person learning or distance learning. 

Puyallup School District

The Puyallup School District shared the following news with families on July 23: 

"The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has just announced that based on current levels of COVID-19 in our community, it is not safe to open schools this fall.  Therefore, school will start on Sept. 3 in a full-time Continuous (Distance) Learning model 2.0.

At this time, we cannot predict exactly how long we will remain in a full-time distance learning model.  We will continue to rely on public health guidance in monitoring community health and re-analyze our situation 6-8 weeks after school begins Sept. 3."

Renton School District 

The Renton School District announced it plans to start the 2020-21 school year with a fully in-home learning model.

"At this time, we cannot predict how long we will remain in the in-home learning model. However, we will continue to monitor infection rates and rely on public health guidance to determine when we can reopen our school buildings to students," said Superintendent Damien Pattenaude.

The district said it plans to include more live instruction in its new in-home learning model, small group support and fewer learning platforms. 

It will also provide all students in grades 6-12 with their own Chromebooks and will provide Chromebooks to any K-5 students who need them. 

Families that need internet connectivity will also be provided with a hotspot, according to the district. 

Information on technology distribution will be given to families in the coming weeks. 

Seattle Public Schools 

The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors voted to start the academic schools year with remote learning in a unanimous vote on August 12. The plan now goes to the state for approval. 

The school year will start on Sept. 4 so teachers can have 6 days of training for remote learning, the district said.

Pre-K and Kindergarden start on Sept. 8.

Superintendent Denise Juneau outlined a remote learning model for the 2020-21 school year until the risk of COVID-19 transmission decreases enough for in-person learning to resume. 

In its recommendation, the district plans to provide: 

  • Training for all educators in order to ensure synchronous (live), high-quality remote instruction for students. 
  • Providing a predictable and consistent teaching/learning schedule on common platforms, using up-to-date resources. 
  • Ensuring that students receiving specialized services are provided instruction in alignment with their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans. 
  • Racial equity training for all educators focused on student belonging, family partnerships, and interrupting implicit racial bias. 
  • Working with the Seattle Council PTSA, City of Seattle, and other community partners to develop community-generated solutions for childcare and learning at home, and continuing to provide childcare in SPS buildings for essential staff, in partnership with the City. 
  • Providing meal distribution throughout the city for any students and families with need. 
  • Adapting, as necessary, as the environment and data regarding Covid-19 continues to shift and change.

The recommendation for remote learning is a shift from the district’s previous hybrid plan that included in-person/in-school learning and remote learning.

RELATED: Seattle Public Schools superintendent recommends starting school remotely this fall

Shoreline Public Schools

Shoreline Public Schools announced Aug. 4 it will begin the year with 100% remote learning after consulting with Seattle and King County health officials and looking at coronavirus data.

The district says it reworked its remote learning model, and fall classes will be different than spring. The model includes live instruction and small group discussion over Zoom, recorded or individual student work time, attendance and grading, streamlined communication and technology and internet access for all students.

When the district is able, Superintendent Rebecca Miner said schools would move to a hybrid model of instruction.

South Kitsap School District

According to the district's website, "After further consideration of guidance from Kitsap Public Health District, OSPI, and extensive public feedback, the SKSD School Board voted (4-1) to start the school year with remote learning for all.

South Kitsap families will have a choice between SK FLEX and SK ONLINE - both models will use remote learning for at least the first nine weeks."

The "Flex Model" will divide students into two groups that will receive in-class learning and remote learning. Students in grades 2-12 will be in classrooms two days per week, either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. No students will be in the schools on Wednesdays. Students in kindergarten and first grade and some receiving special services will attend three to four days each week.

Students in the "Flex" learning model could go full remote if schools are closed.

Students who are enrolled in the "Online Academy" will continue with remote learning for the year, even after schools reopen. 

Tacoma Public Schools

Families in Tacoma can choose to keep their kids at home for 100% remote learning or participate in a hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote classes.

The hybrid model will vary based on grade level. 

Elementary school

Kindergarten through first graders and possibly second graders: Four days of in-person classes a week and one day of distance learning. 

Third through fifth graders: Two days of in person classes and three days of distance learning.

Middle school and high school

Two days of in-person classes and three days of distance learning

The district will distribute laptops to all high school students starting in August and then will work on plans to give laptops to middle school students and elementary students. The district has ordered laptops for all first through 12th graders, but the laptops are on backorder and could take 150 days to arrive.

Tahoma School District

The Tahoma School District will have 100% remote learning for the first quarter of the school year.

In a letter to families and staff, Superintendent Mike Hanson said the district acknowledged in-person learning was most beneficial for students, but said it would be "very difficult" to reopen schools in person considering the current COVID-19 transmission rate.

The school district says remote learning will be different than the spring, and it plans to use remote learning curriculum from Edgenuity in conjunction with Tahoma curriculum. 

This list will continue to be updated by KING 5 Staff as more school districts announce plans for the fall.

State list of Washington school districts, charter schools, tribal schools, and ESDs

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