School Reopening and COVID-19 Updates
Aug. 12 update
Dear SPS Families,
We are preparing for a strong start to the school year by making sure staff, students, and families have the tools and training needed to feel confident about distance learning. To do so, SPS and the Spokane Education Association have agreed to a school calendar shift that will be recommended to the School Board tonight.
- Aug. 31-Sept. 4: To support high levels of preparedness, teachers and staff will continue training on safety, social-emotional learning, distance learning, and technology strategies.
- Sept. 8-11: Building relationships and sharing information will be key to a successful start. To support this effort, we will dedicate time for conferences with teachers or advisors for each student and their family, to answer specific questions and make sure everyone is ready. Conferences will last 35-40 minutes per student. Information on the conference sign-up process will be coming later in the month.
- Sept. 14: Distance learning classes begin for all SPS students K-12.
SPS Safe School Reopening Plan
Thanks to over 150 staff, administrators, parents and community members for developing the SPS Safe School Reopening Plan. The plan provides information on when schools are closed for distance learning and when schools are open for in-person instruction, health and safety protocols, special education and English Language Development services, social/emotional learning tips and athletics plans, among other topics. The reopening plan will be recommended to the School Board tonight for approval and then submitted to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- Option 1: Our real-time distance learning plan provides specific school start and dismissal times, as well as scheduled times for each period/subject. Students will stay with their neighborhood school teacher(s) throughout the year or grading period. You do not need to register for this option.
- Option 2: Families that want more flexibility during the school day, or want their students to learn virtually all year long, should register by Sunday, Aug. 16, for a Year-Long Full Distance Learning option. Students will stay with their Spokane Virtual Academy teachers throughout the school year or grading period.
We are finalizing school supply lists that will accommodate our distance learning model. Information on the supply lists will be available next week.
Distance learning has a significant impact on childcare needs for families, and we understand the sense of urgency to come up with a plan for your student(s). SPS has developed the following options and resources to offer support:
- SPS Day Camp
We will offer a full-day camp for students in grades K-6 for SPS families and staff. This low-cost option will have limited enrollment per site to manage the total number of students in a building at any one time. A limited number of scholarships will be available based on need. Additional sites will open based on registration numbers. Enrollment will be closely managed to provide high levels of social distancing and strict adherence to safety protocols. Students will receive structure and routines that assist them with engaging in their real-time distance learning. Registration will begin on Friday.
- SPS Learning Centers
In partnership with community organizations, learning centers will be open for 2-3 hour periods for students in grades K-12. This option will offer a supervised location to provide structure, routine, and assistance for distance learning. Sites will be located throughout district and community to enhance social distancing and accommodate a set number of students at any specific block of time. Information on times and locations will be coming soon.
- Community-Based Options
We are working with community partners to provide a list of community-based childcare options for families. A list of providers will be maintained on the district website.
- Express Program
We will continue to provide Express school-age child care for students from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Enrollment will be closely managed to provide high levels of social distancing and strict adherence to safety protocols. Students will receive structure and routines that assist them with engaging in their real-time distance learning. Please visit spokaneschools.org/express to learn more and register.
Student Technology Access
SPS is providing a laptop for all students to support distance learning as well as the shift back to in-person instruction. Yes! We have a laptop for every SPS student in your family! Families that need laptops should check them out before their conference (to be scheduled Sept. 8-11) so they can ask any technology questions during that time. Check out a laptop now.
Webinar: Elementary Education
We are hosting a webinar every Thursday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to share information about back to school and answer your questions. This week we’ll focus on elementary education. Register in advance for the webinar here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant budget challenges due to the economic outlook and pending reduction in state funding. As we finalize the operating budget for the 2020-21 school year, our priority is to ensure adequate resources are in place to safely continue educating the whole child – whether distance learning or in person.
We’ll continue sending weekly updates, and if you haven’t already, you will soon be hearing from your student’s school as well. Find more information, including our reopening plan and frequently asked questions, at spokaneschools.org/backtoschool2020.
Spokane Public Schools
Local, state and national resources
- WA Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
- Spokane Regional Health District
- Washington State Department of Health
- WA State Department of Health novel coronavirus call center: 1-800-525-0127, press #
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Employment Security Department