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'Everything but glorious': Some Central Valley School District parents unhappy with reopening policy

There is not a set plan on how the schools are going to enforce social distancing policies, but the Central Valley School District has released guidelines.

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The Central Valley School District faced backlash after putting out their reopening policy, which includes requiring students to wear face masks.

They are not making the right decision, according to a Spokane Valley mother.

Meegan Cunningham has four sons in the public school system. Two of them have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), meaning they have personal plans of how their schooling should work. Children with IEPs are within the special education experience of the school.

"I thought it was gonna be glorious and it was everything but glorious," Cunningham said about virtual learning last spring. "It was almost impossible."

After Ponderosa Elementary School moved online, her kids were disrupted.

"I couldn't get all of them online at the same time. Some of the online sites were working and some of them weren't," she said. "I didn't have enough data so I had to pay for more data to cover all of them."

It was not an easy transition for the kids either.

"There was crying, screaming, and fighting," she said. "They rejected it and they said I was not their teacher."

Her neighbor Danielle Ramos has six children and is a full-time college student.

"It was very, very difficult when the school was shut down," Ramos said. "I was doing 15 hours of online zoom a week myself."

There is not a set plan on how the schools are going to enforce social distancing policies, according to a representative for the school district.

State guidelines require face coverings for students and staff. Each district is factoring in state guidelines and parent feedback to come up with its own plan.

Regardless of the district's policies, Cunningham and Ramos are in agreement, they said.

Credit: Morgan Trau
Cunningham and Ramos' sons sit together

"Masks are a huge thing with us, we don't agree to wear them, it's gonna be a huge struggle within itself masks and then trying to learn on top of that," Cunningham said.

"This is all about politics, but children are meant to be with each other," Ramos said. "I am not a doctor, but I am a mom."

Central Valley School District's statement on reopening is in full below:

Dear CVSD Families:

Central Valley School District is committed to working with you to find the school model that works best for your family as we plan the return to school in the fall. We want to meet you at your level of readiness, giving you options that meet your needs and comfort level. CVSD will continue provide a high quality educational experience for all of our students, no matter which pathway you choose. We will work together with the ultimate goal of providing opportunities for every student to learn and grow, from pre-kindergarten through high school.

We will provide in-person learning and teaching to the greatest extent allowable by local and state officials. We will plan for multiple scenarios and have the necessary health and safety protocols in place to protect our students, staff, and community. By doing so, we will be a resource to our health department in combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

We will also adopt a robust virtual learning curriculum available to all CVSD students, providing instructor-led online courses to students in an interactive learning experience, going far beyond simply an online textbook. This virtual learning model allows for continuity in the event of school closures and an option for families both this year and into the future.

Over the summer, we have been meeting with our 2020 School Reopening Advisory Committee. This committee, and its subcommittees, have representation from parents, teachers, principals, school staff, nurses, School Board members, elected officials, and community members who have come together to consider options, address issues, bring ideas from their many different perspectives, and problem-solve during this unprecedented time.

In addition to the work of the Advisory Committee, we received over 4,000 survey responses from parents across the district from all grade levels to let us know their input and how likely they are to send their children back to in-person schools in September. Based on this survey, we know that you have concerns and you need to have assurances that we will provide a safe learning environment for our students, staff, and families.

We want you to know that we are following, and will continue to follow, OSPI Guidelines and requirements from the Washington Department of Health, Spokane County Health District, and Labor & Industry.

The cornerstone to our reopening plan is a robust virtual learning model, accessible on a single platform. The virtual learning curriculum will be available to all students, and will help us move in and out of in-person learning and teaching, as needed.

You will receive information directly from school principals about the details once our Reopening Plan is approved by the School Board of Directors and OSPI in August, but here is a preview by grade level:

  • Grades K - 6

Schools will be open all day, every day for in-person learning and teaching

  • Safety requirements, including social distancing, will be in place
  • Grades 7 – 12

Schools will be open for in-person learning on an A/B schedule with a blended learning model, meaning a 2 day/3 day in-person weekly rotation

  • Safety requirements, including social distancing, will be in place

Grades 6-12 will only have a 3-period day in a quarter system, at least for the first semester. This will be more manageable for students, particularly in a fully virtual model.

We plan to have the virtual learning model parallel the in-person model, both with instructor-led courses in an interactive environment. Students will be able to move seamlessly between online and in-person as circumstances change for families or our schools.

We look forward to sharing more information as details are finalized. We will be hosting webinars for families to learn more and have their questions answered in the coming month, more details to come.

Please view additional information about the Reopening Planning on our CVSD.org web site.

As we move closer to school reopening on September 9, we will be ready and excited to welcome our students both in-person and online!

Warm regards,

Ben Small

Superintendent

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