Two districts reveal plans for fall opening

Whidbey Island’s school districts have so far decided to approach the beginning of the new school year with caution, a decision that mirrors many other districts in the state.

The South Whidbey School District announced a plan which will be brought to the school board for discussion at the next meeting on Aug. 12.

According to a letter from Superintendent Jo Moccia, the school year will have a “soft opening” Sept. 2-11 with 100 percent distance learning. Teachers will contact students and families individually regarding the way things will operate as it relates to each student.

A “hybrid learning limited” program will begin Sept. 14, based on the recommendations of the back-to-school advisory team and the amount of COVID-19 cases. All students will participate in distance learning but some will be able to have limited face-to-face interaction with staff members. These students include kindergarteners and special needs students.

The interaction will take place outdoors. All students and staff involved in face-to-face instruction must complete a daily health attestation and be symptom free, the letter stated.

Distance learning will be different than what was experienced in the spring, with less Zoom time and more hands-on activities.

Hybrid learning, composed of remote learning and in-person learning, may be available once the COVID-19 curve flattens.

“Hybrid learning plus” will include two days of face-to-face instruction—limited to a maximum of 10 students per indoor classroom—and three days of remote instruction, with daily health check-ins. Capacity for students in the classroom may increase as the rate of cases improves.

Every month, the school district will evaluate the opportunity for more in-person learning.

The Coupeville School District announced a plan similar to South Whidbey’s, with a “remote learning model and additional in-person connections for specifically identified students.”

Coupeville schools will open Sept. 14.

If the COVID-19 curve flattens, a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning is proposed.

According to a letter from Coupeville Superintendent Steve King, staff will limit face-to-face interactions to “students with unique needs such as kindergarteners and preschoolers, English language learners, students with special needs and other students ‘furthest from educational justice.’”

During the next Coupeville School Board meeting, set for Aug. 24, the board will be asked to approve the plan.

Oak Harbor School District officials are planning to make a decision next week on how it will handle the start of the school year.

Oak Harbor’s start date for the new school year was moved to Sept. 14.

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