I want to give you an update on where we are in planning for school in the fall.
Yesterday, the state school superintendent announced that schools could reopen in September for in-person instruction if allowed by local public health departments, with these restrictions:
- Students and staff must stay six feet apart to prevent spread of the coronavirus.
- Schools that do not have space for six-foot distancing must develop alternate day or other modified scheduling.
- Students and staff must wear face coverings (with accommodations for those who cannot for health and safety reasons.)
- Schools must be ready to return to system-wide distance learning quickly if infections spike.
King County is still in Phase 1.5 of the Governor’s reopening plan and is expected to be among the last to fully reopen. In addition, our schools cannot accommodate all students at one time with six-foot distancing. Given that, it is unlikely that Highline will be able to open our schools in September with all students present full time.
We have several workgroups planning for reopening, including spacing and modified scheduling, in collaboration with the unions that represent our teachers and staff. We are planning for scenarios that include:
- Continued distance learning for all students, if necessary for public safety
- A combination of distance learning and in-school instruction with measures to maintain physical distancing.
In addition, with funding from the Gates Foundation, we have partnered with McKinsey & Company, a national consulting firm, to help us build operational plans, and I am talking with other superintendents across our state and nation on a daily basis.
We have just completed surveying staff and families about distance learning and will use these survey results in our planning. Today, we are launching the first of two Thoughtexchange conversations to get your input. We will also gather feedback from the Superintendent’s Family Action Committee, the Superintendent's Student Leadership Team and other representatives of our students and families.
We will update you weekly throughout the summer as we monitor public health guidance and develop our reopening plan.
We are grateful for your participation and patience as we respond to these unprecedented circumstances. Please know that our Highline Promise to know every student by name, strength and need remains as strong as ever.
Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
Highline Public Schools