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UW professor: Schools should consider deferrals, ‘gap quarter’ for students during crisis

School closures continue in Washington. (Pixabay)

With school closures in Washington causing an unprecedented level of complications for students, some experts believe that we need to start weighing the needs of those students over the education they might be receiving while stuck at home.

State Superintendent says school closures likely to fall and beyond

“We need to think about people’s well-being and safety,” University of Washington professor Thomas Halverson told Seattle’s Morning News. “I really think that it’s time for us to start thinking in ways that we probably haven’t before, about trying to help students manage through this situation, and potentially putting academics second to thinking about making sure that they’re able to launch successfully when this is over.”

To that end, Halverson — who teaches education policy at UW — floats the possibility of enacting measures to allow students to focus on their emotional health and well-being rather than schooling during the spring.

“I’m hoping that districts and the state will start exploring deferrals for students, or thinking about ways that students can potentially take a gap quarter and manage the crisis that’s going on at home and have that not be a penalty for them,” he proposed.

This comes as Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal has intimated he’s not sure if or when school will resume as normal before the end of the academic year.

Reykdal assures parents we’re in this as a nation

That being so, Halverson notes that while things are appreciably more difficult for families and students alike right now, they should rest easy knowing that measures are being taken to ensure that everyone is cared for.

“I think families and students should not panic,” he noted. “We’re not gonna put them in a situation where this is going to jeopardize them so significantly that all the hard work that they put in leading up to this point is going to be thrown away.”

“We’ll figure this out,” he added.

Reykdal will be joining Gov. Jay Inslee for a Monday press conference to expand on exactly what schools plan to do in the coming months.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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