Puyallup, Issaquah school districts begin phased return to in-person learning
Some special education students in the Puyallup and Issaquah school districts are returning to classrooms Tuesday as the first wave of students to return to in-person learning.
Some parents and teachers say they have serious safety concerns.
The return to classrooms begins with some special education students moving to in-person learning four days a week.
Families in Puyallup have a choice as to how and when their child returns to school.
When students do return to in-person classes, they will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
According to the Puyallup School District, the decision was based on dropping COVID-19 case counts in Pierce County. Next, smaller classes, such as kindergarten and first grade, will have in-person learning four days a week.
Second grade through 12th grade classes will alternate between online and in-person learning throughout the week.
The district superintendent said he understands the challenges families are facing.
“We understand that some feel uncomfortable, and others think we should have returned at the beginning of the school year. We are asking people to practice adversity tolerance,” the superintendent said at a recent board meeting,
According to the district, most Puyallup parents said in a survey they supported a gradual return to classroom instruction.
An estimated 74% of elementary school parents are reported to be in support of the hybrid learning model.
In Issaquah, backlash is mounting from both teachers and parents.
KIRO 7 spoke with one father in the school district who said for his child, the classroom is not an option.
“I’m definitely not sending my child back to school at this point. There’s no way. My child is my everything at this point in my life. I’m not going to risk that on a whim,” said parent Ron Lindeman.
In Puyallup, parents can opt out of letting their child return to the classroom over the next few weeks.