OSPI says ‘education must continue’ during coronavirus school closures
Following the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order from Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday, March 23, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released new guidance for school districts to plan for continued education.
Although schools in Washington state are in the middle of a six-week closure, with all traditional in-person instruction canceled until at least April 24, OSPI has now said that education must continue. The office has provided a document with guidance for districts to use as a starting point in their planning.
“Further guidance will be grounded in compassion, communication, and common sense; rather than the traditional compliance measures we are all familiar with in our education community. Our schools are the backbone of our democracy and the structures, routines, and ongoing learning opportunities will create calm connections our families need at this critical time in our state.”
While some districts in the state have been providing a form of distance learning or working to implement a system for continued education during the closures, OSPI is now requiring all districts to start “building their capacity to provide equitable services during school closures.”
“We should avoid assuming that continuity of education outside of a typical school building can only occur through online means. Districts will provide instruction using printed learning materials, phone contact, email, technology-based virtual instruction, or a combination to meet student needs.”
Education services for all students statewide are expected to start by Monday, March 30.
OSPI also announced that it will launch a iGrants package to collect information about nutrition, child care, and educational services being provided by each school district.
In addition to guidance for continued learning during school closures, OSPI also released child care guidelines and information on how to support seniors and make sure they’re eligible to graduate on time.
You can find all these resources and more information about school closures during the coronavirus outbreak and response from the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, online here.