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Districts’ plans for reopening schools across Western Washington

The sleep patterns of students at Roosevelt High School were studied before and after the district pushed start times later in the fall of 2016. (Photo: James Urton)

Every school district across Western Washington has a different set of challenges for instruction in 2020 as it navigates the effects of coronavirus on students and staff. The state Office of Public Instruction has given the districts general guidelines based on data from health officials, but has left the details up to each district.

The state Department of Health’s Decision Tree was created to help districts decide when to open.

MyNorthwest has put together a reopening tracker so that it’s easier to compare districts’ plans as they develop throughout the school year.

(Please note that this is a snapshot of each district. This is in no way is a comprehensive deep dive into each district’s plans and timeline.)

King County

Auburn School District

Based on the progression of COVID-19 metrics and guidance from the health department, the earliest we will bring grades 3-12 back for in-person learning in a hybrid model is February 2. This is a difficult decision and not what any of us want. We are letting you know so you can plan around this target date. This is the earliest we could return in grades 3-12, unless health department guidance changes.

We are hopeful we might bring our youngest learners back earlier than the older students. Our current plan is to evaluate the health data in mid-December to determine if a mid-January return in hybrid is feasible for students in Preschool through 2nd grade. Read more.

Bellevue School District

Elementary students will only be brought back for broad in-person learning in January, following Winter Break. Any decision at that time will be subject to review of the health data conditions for King County.

Secondary students will only be brought back for broad in-person learning for the second semester of the school year. Any decision at that time will be subject to review of the health data conditions for King County. Read more.

Enumclaw School District

As of today, these numbers continue to climb and given the current trends, we anticipate that Enumclaw/Black Diamond will not securely return to “moderate” by the 26th of October. School districts across both counties have been encouraged to pause on reopening plans.

It is still our goal to bring these students back as soon as safely possible. We will communicate a timeline for this as soon as it is determined. We want to give families as much advance notice as possible once we have established a return date.  Read more

Federal Way School District

FWPS, like most of the surrounding districts, decided to start the 2020-21 school year providing 100% remote learning.

We will be working with Public Health – Seattle & King County to monitor when we can reopen schools with our hybrid model. If the rate of infection has diminished, and face-to-face instruction is supported by public health guidelines, we will be prepared to transition to our hybrid model with two days of face-to-face instruction and three days of remote instruction each week. Read more.

Highline School District

Highline Public Schools started the school year in distance learning and remains in that model. Read more.

Issaquah School District

We are excited that we will be able to begin bringing more of our special education students into our school buildings on an in-person hybrid schedule.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to begin holding in-person hybrid learning for our kindergarten and first grade students on October 15, as we had originally hoped to do.
Read more.

Kent School District

The Kent School District will remain in remote learning for the first semester of this year through January 28.

We made this decision primarily based on the data that the COVID activity rates in the KSD community remain higher than King County overall and continue to stay above the maximum level the Department of Health has set for when schools may safely reopen for in-person learning. Read more.

Lake Washington School District

It is important to note that the new case rate data will require us to pause on our implementation of in-person learning for additional students. This does not mean that the work to prepare for the transition will stop. Read more.

Mercer Island School District

From the superintendent: Hopefully, case numbers will decline and kindergarten students will have the first day of in-person learning on Thursday, Oct. 22. First grade may follow within three weeks. Grades 2 to 12 Orange Learning will phase in throughout late November and December. We will communicate with families promptly if there are any changes to this timeline. Read more. 

Northshore School District

Starting Oct. 26, the district will be in a modified Stage 3 with Students in Adult Transition Program – Pathways participate onsite with in-person instruction four (4) days a week for half days. All other students participate in distance learning. Staff able to be onsite for the purpose of planning and delivering instruction.
Read more.

Renton School District

Given the current trajectory of the data, at this time it is unlikely that the Renton School District will offer an in-person Preschool through 5th grade hybrid model option before January 2021. The most likely scenario is that the vast majority of students will continue with remote learning through at least the end of December. Read more.

Riverview School District

After reviewing information from Public Health – Seattle & King County, ongoing collaboration with surrounding school districts, and analyzing potential school re-opening options, the Riverview School District opened the 2020-21 school year in a Remote Learning Model (referenced as Plan A). Read more.

Seattle School District

The Seattle School Board recommended that Seattle Public Schools continue this remote model until the risk of significant transmission of COVID-19 cases has decreased enough to resume in-person instruction. A task force will monitor progress, implementation and efficacy of the reopening plan and remote learning model, and to advise the Board and Superintendent throughout the 2020- 2021 school year. A second task force will make recommendations related to, the implementation of community schools and outdoor education in Seattle Public Schools. Read more.

Shoreline School District

We will continue to monitor all available data and will provide families and staff at least two weeks’ notice before beginning to offer a hybrid learning option. Read more.

Snoqualmie Valley School District

Students in grades 6-12 will remain on a 100% Remote Learning model. We will continue to monitor community and regional data and public health guidance to determine a timeline for switching to a hybrid model of instruction. Kindergarten will start a hybrid model on Oct. 26, first and second grade will begin Nov. 2, and third through fifth grades will start Nov. 16. Read more.

Tahoma School District

We are disappointed to announce that rising rates of COVID-19 transmission in King County have led us to delay inviting Tahoma students in preschool through grade 2 back to classrooms on Oct. 19. For now, students will continue with remote learning in their current placements while the small number of students now using services on campus will continue, unless public health guidance indicates reconsideration. Read more.

Tukwila School District

Tukwila School District staff are starting to develop plans for the potential return of our early learners and examining what this experience might look like. Part of the planning process is knowing whether families have a preference to have their students return for some in-person learning or to stay with a distance-learning option. Currently, we have not established a timeline for when that return may be. However, just like in August, we will be asking for information about family preferences on a monthly basis. Read more

Vashon Island School District

VISD will need to adjust hybrid learning and our reopening timelines as we no longer expect to begin in person learning by November 2, 2020.

We will continue to adapt our planning, keeping in mind the safety and well being of our students and staff and communicate our plans to you as we move forward together. Read more.

Kitsap County

Bainbridge Island School District

Students enrolled in the Hybrid Learning Model will begin their school year in a Continuous Learning (distance learning) environment; Bainbridge Island School District teachers will provide the instruction. Note: There may be exceptions for students with special education whose disabilities significantly impact their access to an online learning environment. Decisions regarding the implementation of a student’s IEP will be determined by his/her IEP team. Read more.

North Kitsap School District

At this time, we are planning to bring back hybrid students in the following manner:

  • Grades PreK –2 and some high need learners as early as Monday, November 9;
  • Grades 3-5 as early as January 4, 2021;
  • Grades 6-12 at the beginning of second semester.

Read more.

Central Kitsap School District

We are planning to bring kindergarten students back on Monday, November 9. They will have four half days of in-person instruction (AM/PM). After successfully serving our youngest three grades on site, we will gradually add 2nd and 3rd graders (likely December) and later our 4th and 5th graders (likely January). Most of our older students will remain in a fully remote learning model until at least the end of first semester (January 28).  Read more.

Bremerton School District

From the superintendent: We will continue to rely on public health guidance in monitoring community health and reassess the situation in November which is half-way through the first semester. We are determined to return to in-person instruction as soon as it’s safely possible. Read more.

South Kitsap School District

Students in kindergarten and first grade will be the first groups to transition to in person learning in the classroom. Additional grades will transition to SK Flex over time. Middle and High School students will be phased in on a two day per week in person (with half the students) and three days per week remote learning (asynchronous work). Read more.

Snohomish County

Arlington School District

Kindergarten and first grade hybrid students started attending school on-site part time on Oct. 12. ASD has a six step plan for reopening. Read more.

Darrington School District

We started the school year with a remote learning model. Current projections would place Darrington in a remote learning model through at least the first academic quarter (November 6, 2020).  Read more.

Everett School District

Plans have been in motion for weeks to bring four (4) groups of self-contained special education students back, and our goal is November 2. As with other things during this COVID pandemic, case counts could adjust that date if necessary. Stage 2 brings Developmental Kindergarten, STRIVE and Life Skills students back into the classroom five (5) days a week and Developmental Pre-K four (4) days a week. Read more.

Edmonds School District

During the summer, we shared approximate dates with our families for when we saw it logistically possible to transition to in-person learning, which would be the start of each new quarter/semester (Nov. 12, 2020; Feb. 3, 2021; April 14, 2021). We will continue to use those dates to guide us on major shifts, but the sooner we can get some of our students back to in-person learning, the better. Read more.

Granite Falls School District

Specific Special Ed students, English Language Learners, Highly impacted identified students, Crossroads groups start the week of Oct. 19. PreK, first and third grade begins the week of Nov. 9. Second, fourth, fifth grades, and multi-age classes start the week of Nov. 30. Read more

Lake Stevens School District

Students in kindergarten through 12th-grade will continue in their current Distance Learning Model. At this time, we do not know when we will move forward with Phases 2-4 (see graphic below) of our Hybrid Learning Plan. This transition will be dependent on COVID-19 infection rates and guidance from the Snohomish Health District. Read more.

Marysville School District

In the Marysville School District, we opened with a plan called “Continuous Learning 2.0” that will have a three-prong approach based on health and safety and the primary considerations developed by the community workgroup. Read more.

Monroe School District

We are currently planning to welcome back our developmental preschool and all kindergarten students as early as October 12. Read more.

Mukilteo School District

Superintendent Brynelson shared that due to rising COVID cases in our county and secifically within district boundaries, tentative plans to bring back some students starting Oct. 26 would be postponed. However, the planning for when some students are able to return to in-person learning continues. Read more.

Northshore School District

Starting Oct. 26, the district will be in a modified Stage 3 with Students in Adult Transition Program – Pathways participate onsite with in-person instruction four (4) days a week for half days. All other students participate in distance learning. Staff able to be onsite for the purpose of planning and delivering instruction. Read more.

Snohomish School District

The school board decided to postpone the tentative October 26 in-person start date for our preschool through 2nd grade classrooms. This decision, which was not made in haste or lightly, was made after receiving earlier guidance from the Snohomish Health District requesting that districts pause their re-opening efforts. Read more.

Stanwood-Camano School District

Dr. Spitters emailed guidance to school leaders asking them to “not move ahead now on any plans to bring in additional students.” He also stressed that, at this time, “there is no need to go backward at schools that have already started to bring in students Kindergarten to 3rd grade, or those with special needs.” We will be meeting with Dr. Spitters on Tuesday, October 20th, to discuss our plans to bring back 4th and 5th grade students for face-to-face instruction on October 26th.
Read more.

Sultan School District

The plan is to start First and Second-grade students back on campus, half time, starting on October 5th. This will be our next step in bringing students back to in-person learning.   Read more.

Pierce County

Bethel School District

The Bethel School District will not return to in-person learning in October due to the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County. All students will continue in our current remote learning instructional model through at least mid November. This decision was made after discussions with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Read more.

Carbonado School District

The Pierce County superintendents attended a meeting with the Pierce County Health Department. It is their recommendation, based on COVID-19 cases in OUR county RIGHT NOW, that it would be unsafe to open schools in early September. Here is the link. 

Clover Park School District

Based on the concerning increase in the rate of county COVID-19 cases and updated health department information, the district will delay launching hybrid learning for students and will remain in virtual learning:

Read more.

Dieringer School District

We will continue our work and planning that we have begun that currently targets a November 2nd return for students in preschool through fifth grade. It is difficult to say today whether we can stick with that November date, but for the time being we will wait and see what happens with transmission rates in Pierce
County. Read more.

Eatonville School District

Eatonville School District elementary students enrolled in any of the district’s three elementaries may start to return to school in-person at the end of the month, if Pierce County continues to meet COVID-19 targets set by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and state Department of Health.

This next phase is called the hybrid model, in which students learn two days in their school and three days at home with Wednesdays continuing from home using the current “Wednesday Distance Learning Schedule.”

Read more.

Fife School District

From the superintendent: Fife Public Schools will not be transitioning to a hybrid learning model on November 2nd, which was our target date established on September 28th. Read more.

Franklin Pierce School District

Franklin Pierce Schools will be operating remotely for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Students will be divided into two cohorts to increase engagement, reduce screen time, and create flexible alternatives for families. Read more.

Orting School District

There are far too many factors to base our decision making on a specific number as our only metric for reopening. We do not want to pivot back and forth between opening, delaying, or additional closures due to changing advice by the TPCHD and increasingly risky conditions for our children. The Task Force plans to reconvene and discuss the next steps in reopening Orting Schools on October 20, 2020. Read more.

Peninsula School District

PSD is currently providing safe, in-person learning for preschool, K-1 students and other small groups. Our goal is to welcome back our second graders for those who wish to come to school for in-person learning on Thursday, November 5. Read more.

Puyallup School District

The District is in phase 3 providing Continuous (Distance) Learning for most students, and hybrid in-person instruction for small groups of 5 or less students. Additional students are unlikely to return before January.  Read more.

Steilacoom Historical School District

If COVID-19 case rates move to and stabilize at the “Moderate” level, in mid-December, we will notify families of our intent to have elementary students (grades K-5) begin our hybrid model on January 4th, 2021 (immediately following Winter Break).

After the return to hybrid for elementary students, TPCHD allows us to consider expanding hybrid learning to secondary students (grades 6-12). Assuming COVID-19 activity rates have improved, we plan to launch our hybrid model at the middle school and the high school at the start of second semester, February 1st. Read more.

Sumner School District

Last Friday you learned about our decision to delay the transition to hybrid learning until January. While it was a very difficult decision, we believe it is the right one for the health and safety of our students and staff, especially in light of the continuous increase in COVID-19 cases. Read more.

Tacoma School District

The health department alert told school districts to “pause bringing back additional students for in-person learning”—except for special education students who need in-person instruction.

Our district team continues to stay in close contact with the health department and monitor the data.

For now, most Tacoma Public Schools students will continue in remote learning and Tacoma Online. Read more.

University Place School District

We have decided to postpone implementation of our hybrid learning model until at least January of 2021. All UPSD schools are in a fully online model. Read more.

White River School District

White River schools will start this fall with every student in distance learning. Fortunately, our experiences at the end of the last school year, the survey responses, and the parent focus groups have all served to provide us with valuable information on how to improve the distance learning experience. Read more.

Please let us know if you have updated information about your district – [email protected]

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