Spokane Public Schools creates task force to plan for next school year

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools is trying to figure out how to bring students back in the fall safely.

The school district put together a task force made up of district employees, board members and eventually parents. The group will work with the health district on what standards they will need in place to keep students and staff safe in school.

As of now, Dr. Mark Anderson, the associate superintendent for capital projects and facilities services, says they are aware of three different options along a continuum:

  • Schools could fully be back with stricter cleaning and safety guidelines
  • Schools could reopen with what they’re doing now – distanced learning.
  • The third option would be a combination of both to maintain some social distancing.

“So, you can have a classroom of, you know, 12 all spaced out, and the rest of the class is home online that day. Then they rotate, and the next day the other group comes. Lots of complications with that on transportation, and food and child care,” said Anderson.

Anderson added that the state has its own task force to figure a guideline, then the school district would follow suit.

“First and foremost, the safety and well-being of students will be our top priority. Really thinking intentionally about the level of trauma and stress that our community, our families, and our students have incurred, and developing a thoughtful transition, whatever the model looks like,” explained Dr. Adam Swinyard, the associate superintendent for teaching and learning.

No plan is set in stone for the next school year just yet.

The community will be able to get information about what the task force is planning once the group comes together. There will also be opportunity for input.

“We’re in this space where we need to start thinking about it, and start outlining potential details knowing that ultimately we will take guidance from the state,” Swinyard said.

Swinyard said the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction may have some information as to what the next school year will look like by beginning of June.

Spokane Public Schools hopes to have a plan in place by the beginning of August so that teachers can prepare for students once school starts later that month or in September.

READ: Spokane County approved to advance to phase 2 of reopening plan

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