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Here's what K-12 classes will look like in the fall around the Inland Northwest

Schools around the Inland Northwest are putting together plans for what classes could look like for students.
Credit: KING
empty classroom GENERIC

SPOKANE, Wash. — Back to school time is quickly approaching as the coronavirus pandemic looms over school districts and their plans to reopen in the fall.

Schools around the Inland Northwest are putting together plans for what classes could look like for students in kindergarten all the way through middle school.

Here’s a look at what we know about school districts plans:

Mead School District

Mead School District approved its learning plan for the upcoming year as follows:

  • In-person classes will resume for preschool and K-5
  • Hybrid learning model for Grades 6-12
  • Families that are uncomfortable returning to in-person learning can choose virtual learning

On Monday, August 10, the district will discuss delaying the start date until September 13 from its current date of September 1.

The plan was approved at a meeting on August 6, according to KREM's Brandon Jones.

Spokane Public Schools

SPS leaders announced Monday, Aug. 3 that the 2020-2021 school year will begin online after a recommendation from the county's health authority.  

SPS leaders wrote in a message the district's distance learning plan has been revised significantly from the experience students had in the spring of 2020. 

The improved model includes: 

  • Real-time school day with teacher(s)
  • Identified school start and dismissal time
  • Specific times scheduled for each period/subject
  • Blend of live instruction, group work, and independent activities
  • Specialist & elective experiences included
  • Set times for intervention support and contacting teachers
  • Use of Microsoft Teams as the district-wide digital platform
  • Laptop check-out for all students
  • Limited in person instruction provided for small groups of students 

An example of the sample schedules can be found here.

Parents who are not comfortable sending their children back to school when buildings eventually reopen can also choose to utilize the district’s distance learning option.

The district said it is in the final stages of confirming the details of its plan and will share a comprehensive document in the coming days. The plan will then go before the Spokane Public Schools' Board of Directors for approval before it is sent to the Washington state superintendent's office. 

Current information about remote and in-person learning can be found on the SPS website

Central Valley School District

CVSD has designed three different virtual learning options that students and families can choose from for the upcoming fall. The district is asking families to make their choice by Aug. 21.

The virtual learning options are: 

  • The first option is school-paced virtual learning with a preference to transition to in-person when schools are able to re-open. It will be led by CVSD teachers and allow students to have an easier transition to in-person learning when it becomes available. 
  • Another option is school-paced virtual learning with a preference to stay virtual for the full school year, which allows students to keep the same teachers throughout the year. 
  • Self-paced virtual learning will also be available for families. This option allows students to work at their own pace to complete assignments over the course of the school year, guided by CVSD teachers.

Cheney School District

The Cheney School District announced on Monday, Aug. 3 that it too would begin the upcoming school year by doing virtual learning, with students not returning to classrooms. 

The district shared photos of its conditional reopening plan, which includes six stages:

  1. Stage 1: 100% Distance Learning.
  2. Stage 2: 100% Distance Learning, with school buildings open to staff.
  3. Stage 3: Modified Hybrid Learning, with students "in the greatest need of additional support" taking part in some in-person instruction.
  4. Stage 4: Hybrid Learning, all students included in Stage 3 as well as some in Preschool through Fifth Grade attend school in-person part of the time. Grades six through 12 still on a distance learning model.
  5. Stage 5: Hybrid Learning. Kindergarten through Fifth Grade students and staff complete in-person instruction five days a week. Preschool students participate in-person with a set schedule. Grades six through 12 complete some instruction in-person.
  6. Stage 6: 100% In-person Learning. All students and staff carry out in-person instruction five days a week.

More can be found in the district's Facebook post.

Gonzaga Prep

  • Half of students will be on campus for in-person classes. The other half will be learning from home using video conferencing.
  • Students will be on campus two days a week.
  • Students at home will do so three days a week
  • Fridays will be designated for school activities, retreats, tutoring, counseling, teacher office hours
  • Students will be split into two groups as assigned by the first letter of their last name.
    • Aloysius group: A-L (In person classes on Mon. & Wed. Online classes Tues. & Thurs.)
    • Gonzaga group: M-Z (In person classes on Tue. & Thurs. Online classes Mon. & Wed.)
  • Families can choose to keep their students at home and all classes will be set up to support those needs.
  • Lunch will be served in different locations throughout campus.

West Valley School District 

On July 30, 2020, West Valley School District announced its reopening plans will depend on the amount of community spread of the virus.  If transmission levels remain as they are in Spokane County, West Valley will plan to start the school year in a 100% virtual model for elementary, middle and high school. All classes would be taught by West Valley teachers. 

The district promises “a new and improved and more robust version” of virtual learning than they offered in Spring 2020.  

If transmission rates drop, the district will transition to the following: 

Early Learning and Elementary Schools 

  • All students can attend school in person, every day 

  • Any student can choose an entirely online program through West Valley Online Academy 

Middle and High School 

  • All students can attend in-person classes in a hybrid model of 50 percent onsite and 50 percent distance learning in a rotating A/B schedule 

  • Cohort A: onsite Monday and Thursday and every other Wednesday 

  • Cohort B: onsite Tuesday and Friday and every other Wednesday 

  • Any student can choose an entirely online program through West Valley Online Academy 

West Valley School District is asking parents and guardians to watch an informational video and then complete a survey online. The district will be holding two more online Q&A sessions on Aug. 13 at 1 p.m. and Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. 

Plans still pending for other districts

Plans are still pending for Medical Lake, Deer Park and East Valley School Districts.

This story will be updated when more schools release details on their reopening plans.

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