Here’s what school could be like for Spokane Public Schools this fall

Kid Student School Desk

SPOKANE, Wash. – As school districts try to figure out what fall could look like, parents are wrestling with the idea of bringing their kids back.

Spokane Public Schools released tentative plans for the upcoming school year Wednesday morning. The expectation right now is that students will be back in school buildings to learn in-person. However, it is still possible kids might have to learn online again.

The challenge school districts are facing is balancing safety with the desire to get back to school.

Parent Miguel Gonzales understands that. He wants his freshman son to actually learn while in school.

“To actually acquire those grades, learn that material. Not just pass because it’s a COVID grade,” he told 4 News Now.

However, he also has those “what if’s” in the back of his mind, just like many other parents.

“What if my child gets sick? Like I said, it only takes that one individual to inadvertently bring the virus into their community,” he said.

It is ultimately up to parents if they want their kids to walk the halls again this fall. Dr. Mark Andereson, the associate superintendent of Spokane Public Schools, said they will be asking parents for official answers in August once they finalize plans.

“It’ll help us do our staffing in the online program, and then how many students won’t be at school to do our school staffing as well,” he said.

This is what Spokane Public Schools is planing:

  • Students in kindergarten through fourth grade will be learning at school every day.
  • Fifth and sixth graders will most likely be alternating between online and in-person learning to accommodate social distancing rules.
  • Middle and high school students will also be rotating schedules.

The school district plans to work with families with more than one child in a school.

“We are trying to align the schedules so that a family would be on the same schedule,” Anderson said.

While Gonzales doesn’t have that issue to deal with, he’s still hopeful his son will get to learn, and do so safely.

“For adults it’s a challenge to be preventative and be cautious and to not get it. I can just imagine for students, they have a greater challenge,” he said.

If parents aren’t comfortable with their kids going to school, the district is ramping up its online curriculum for those learning at home.

“If we’re not allowed to open, we’re going to start with an online full, online school. Much different than what we had this last spring. We’re going to one platform so that parents have one tool and kids have one tool to use,” Anderson said.

Anderson added that the school district is working with some businesses on internet access to get every student connected, if needed. They also plan to give every student a laptop.

Alternating schedules will also be tough on families that have to work full time. Anderson said they plan to continue their child care sites, even possibly adding child care for teachers, if needed.

The decision to ultimately move schools online could come in mid to late August, Anderson said.

Another webinar will be held Thursday over Zoom starting at 6:30 p.m. talking about in-person learning. Another meeting will be held next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss distanced learning.

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