As the first day of the new school years gets closer, school districts are working out the details of how to make school safe for students and staff while maintaining the same level of education quality as before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Centralia School District Superintendent Lisa Grant outlined some of the logistics of the school’s reopening plan upcoming school year which includes two days of face-to-face instruction and three days of virtual learning a week for middle and high school students.
The reopening plan must be submitted to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction by August 19.
Grant said that the district recognizes that some families are not going to feel comfortable sending their children back to school in the fall so there is a full-time distance learning model available for students at every grade level.
There will be a full-time face-to-face instruction option for kindergarten through sixth grade. Grant said that the district would like to be able to offer full-time, in-person learning to as many elementary-aged students as possible.
“We’re going to have to get creative with space. If we can’t get every grade level back, we will prioritize primary grades first and then move up,” Grant said.
Middle school and high school students will be on a rotation that includes two days of face-to-face instruction and three days of virtual instruction. Grant said that the virtual learning will not look like the virtual learning students experienced this past spring but will be much more structured.
“All parents will decide what’s best for their families within this structure,” she said.
The district sent out a survey to families regarding the reopening plan and Grant said that they received about 1,300 surveys back which were taken into consideration when creating the reopening plan.
“There are many, many questions and many details that still need to be filled but we are using this as an opportunity, while it’s challenging, to say ‘how do we best serve our families?’ and ‘how do we look at what we’re doing and create the best possible plan?’” Grant said to the school board.
A few of the “guiding principles” Grant cited as priorities when creating the reopening plan include: maintaining the physical and emotional safety of students and staff, focusing on equity, planning with flexibility, being fiscally responsible and considering the needs of families and the community.
“We are complying with state and federal requirements and we know that those could potentially change as we move forward,” Grant said.
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. on July 29 the Centralia School District will hold a virtual Q & A session so that community members can ask the district questions.