West Valley to present school board with ‘phase-in’ plan for middle and high school students
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The second half of the school year has kicked off in Spokane County. Some school districts have started to lay out reopening plans for other grade levels.
At the West Valley School District, fourth and fifth graders will switch to a hybrid learning model, rather than fully remote. Fourth graders start back on January 14th and fifth graders a week later.
This is especially good news for Justin Jule, a father of several West Valley students. He said the biggest challenge of his fourth grader learning remotely is the technology.
“It’s hard for the teacher. Sometimes the teacher can’t hear the child because the device isn’t working properly,” Jule explained.
His son, Philip, says he’s most excited about seeing his friends in person versus through a screen.
Where does this leave middle and high school students? The district has drafted a plan for this.
“We feel like bringing them back one day a week with those mitigation strategies will help us to build success,” said Kyle Rydell, superintendent of the West Valley School District.
Here’s how a typical week would look for a student. Let’s say Johnny is in group 1A out of four groups. On Monday, he would go to school with a very small group of students. On Tuesday, he would stay home and do independent learning to finish assignments.
“Transitions, our buildings are still working on what that looks like between classes,” Rydell said. “Walking on the right-hand side, trying to stay as spaced out as possible.”
Wednesday, Johnny and all other students in the school will do a full virtual day. Thursday, Johnny will spend his day learning virtual with the same small group from Monday.
On Friday, he would finish his week with independent learning again.
The plan would take effect on February 1, if the school board approves it on January 13 at the next district meeting. If approved, officials hope to do a full hybrid model by March.
Other school districts are also making some changes. At Central Valley, fourth and sixth grade students will start a hybrid model on January 14th. Fifth graders will do the same on January 21st.
In the meantime, the school district will also present its plan to bring back secondary students. On January 11, the school board will look at the plan and potentially approve it. If this happens, students in middle and high school will start the hybrid model on February 1st.
No changes are being made to other districts including Mead, East Valley and Coeur d’Alene Public Schools.
“We’re all in this together so I think that they’re going to do their best, and we have to do our best and try and get through this,” said Jule.
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