‘With each day, I’m less convinced’: SPS superintendent addresses likelihood of in-person instruction this fall

SPOKANE, Wash. — The superintendent of Spokane Public Schools says there is a growing chance students may not return to class for in-person learning by this fall.

“Our hope is in coming together, staying together, doing whatever we can to keep our kids safe, keep them healthy, keep them learning,” said Superintendent Adam Swinyard during a parent webinar on Thursday. 

The webinar maxed out at 1,000 viewers and school officials received more than 700 questions. They couldn’t answer all of them.

Currently, the district is anticipating schools will reopen in the fall, with a combination of in-person and hybrid learning. That could be subject to change based on advice from local and health officials, Swinyard said. 

“With each day, I’m less convinced,” said Swinyard.

If schools do open, Swinyard says students grades K-4 would be in class every day, because distance learning is more difficult for that age group. Grade 5 and 6 students will likely go to school on an alternative schedule. Secondary students will go to school on an alternating day schedule.

Desks will be spaced six feet apart, temperatures will be taken each day, and busses disinfected three times a day.

Parents uncomfortable with their child returning to the classroom will be offered a distance learning option. While working online, students would still have real-time experience with teachers and stick to a consistent schedule with identified start and dismissal times.

Plans must be finalized and presented to the school board by August 12, but Swinyard says he hopes to have a more solid plan in place for parents before then.

READ: LIST: School districts determine back to school plans