With King County infection rates from COVID-19 continuing in the moderate range, Public Health — Seattle and King County has said districts can start bringing their youngest learners back in the coming weeks.
And over time, districts may return every student to a hybrid model of in-person instruction.
Auburn School District Superintendent Dr. Alan Spicciati explained in a letter to district families Oct. 2 that when the district returns to in-person instruction, all ASD students and staff will follow Washington State Department of Health guidelines for face coverings, physical distancing, personal hygiene, COVID response, cleaning protocols and a required daily wellness screening.
All students and staff, Spicciati added, will have to wear face coverings at all times indoors and on school buses.
“We are designing a hybrid model based on data we received in the summer and patterns of attendance seen around the country,” Spicciati said. “This model is subject to change based on the commitments ASD families make. We have not determined a timeline for when we begin the hybrid model. We are making all of the preparations to be ready once the health department advises.”
The plan is for the district’s youngest learners, grades K-2, to return first. The district will monitor the success and infection rate, and if the data continues to meet the county health department’s guidelines, it will bring grades 3-5 back in a hybrid schedule a few weeks after grades kindergarten to second.
After the elementary implementation, the district will monitor infection rates, then create a timeline to add secondary students back in a hybrid schedule.
The plans are subject to change, based on health and safety guidance from the county health department, Spicciati said.
Families will need to choose one of these models:
1. Hybrid-available at elementary and secondary: The hybrid model will be one group of students attending in-person Tuesday and Thursday, and another group present on Wednesday and Friday. Monday will be a student at-home day. Students will continue learning at home on the days they do not attend in-person.
2. Full-time distance learning, available at elementary and secondary schools: The district anticipates that some families will not be comfortable returning to any in-person instruction, so it plans to continue a full-time distance learning schedule.
3. Elementary PM program, available at elementary schools only: The Elementary PM program — 4:30 to 7:45 p.m. — may continue in full-time distance learning if enough students are enrolled. The Elementary PM program will not be available in-person.
DOH guidelines do not require physical distancing on school buses. While the district will make every effort to keep students safe, Spicciati said, families need to know that physical distancing may not be possible on ASD school buses.
“We will make every effort to keep students with their current teacher, but it may not be possible. Some classes might not be available in distance learning for grades 6-12. School counselors will work with students to find equivalent courses or make schedule changes.
“The hybrid model is students attend two days per week in-person and participate in distance learning the other three days of the week. The days students attend in-person is based on where students live. Families will not choose which two days to attend. It will be Tuesday-Thursday or Wednesday-Friday.”