Superintendent Reykdal assures parents we’re in this as a nation
When will the schools reopen and what plan is there for home instruction moving forward have been questions on the minds of many parents across the state.
While the initial shutdown issued by Governor Jay Inslee is through April 24, which would see schools reopening April 27, Chris Reykdal, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, acknowledged that the school shutdown could go on much longer.
“We continue to guide districts toward that date (April 27), but we are really clear to everybody, we are planning in our office to think about what happens if this goes longer. That is not the determination right now, but we have to plan for that day,” he said on KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show.
The superintendent stressed throughout the interview that they would not be flipping to an online model, saying it is unrealistic at this time.
“We are ramping up, we are building capacity to be better at distance learning,” Reykdal said. “That doesn’t mean every district jumps online and we switch the model, but every district can do something to create learning opportunities for kids. To put packets in place, to send draft lessons, to give them opportunities to be in their next chapter and check in on how they are doing.”
Reykdal pointed out that there will be time in the future for most students to catch up.
“As a whole nation, we are in this,” he said. “Everyone has this, ‘Oh my god, my kid is losing ground.’ Fifty million American children are not in school. Hundreds of millions of kids around the world are not in school. So we are not losing ground to the world right now, but we have an opportunity to at least hold where we are and maybe create some additional opportunities for kids as this continues, and that’s that advance planning that we are doing all the time.”
Gee Scott asked for advice for parents who felt they might be in a little bit over their heads in trying to teach their kids and just want to do the best for them.
“Number one, never doubt how much your kids know. They are really smart, and really inquisitive, and there is a skillset about our young people that none of us really had, they know how to find content, they know how to find info,” Reykdal answered.
“Our website has a link to unbelievable resource opportunities by grade and by subject. I’d say exploration is really important right now as opposed to knowing because it is going to be hard to know without that real high touch guidance of a teacher,” Reykdal said. “But if parents are trying and building a structured time a couple of hours a day for students to be engaged in exploration and thinking about what they might be able to explore? Find structure, find resources, and then absolutely listen to what your local school district is doing to build those opportunities. There will be opportunity to connect with a teacher, but it is going to look real different depending on where you are.”
While the hope is there will be a return to the classrooms before summer, without a known end date to the current shutdown, work continues on finding ways to better educate the state’s youth at home.
“We are not working on the assumption that schools will be closed until fall, we are preparing for the possibility for that to be the governor’s determination,” Reykdal said. “We have got a ton of scenarios in play and we are preparing for every one of them.”