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Spokane Public Schools opens for remote learning Monday, Sept. 14

This is what the school year will look like for Spokane students.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools will reopen virtually on Monday, Sept. 14.

The school day for real-time distance learners in all grades is 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Spokane Public Schools Board unanimously approved a plan to start all-virtual classes due to COVID-19 in August.  

The plan calls for elementary school students to return to class full-time once its safe to do so, followed by secondary school students going to a hybrid model of some in-person and some remote learning.

Under the adopted plan, parent-teacher-student conferences started Sept. 8 to prepare for the year. Teachers and staff also trained on safety, social-emotional learning, distance learning and technology strategies.

Families were also able to opt to stay virtual-only all year, but they had to make that decision by Aug. 15.

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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 

Online programs are self-paced, so students move at their own speed. There's regularly scheduled interaction with teachers and other student and a blend of live instruction, group work and independent activities. Teachers will also have office hours. They also offer monthly tech support sessions for parents who want a deeper dive into online learning. 

SPS has been holding a series of webinars to help parents sort through all the changes. There is also a guide on the district website. 

The district has also said in a message to staff that it is "strongly" encouraging teachers to virtually teach from their classrooms this fall, which the district said it "allowable if all safety protocols and social distancing are closely followed." The district also said "it believes this sends an important message to the community and ensures effective technology, resources and supports are available to teachers."

The message to staff also laid out childcare resources.

The childcare resources are as followed:

SPS Day Camp

  • "We will provide a full day camp for students in grades K-6 for families and staff. This low-cost or scholarship option will have limited enrollment per site to manage the total number of students in a building at any one time. 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 be available next week."

SPS Learning Centers

  • "In partnership with community organizations, learning centers will be open for 2-3 hour periods for students in grades K-8. This option will provide a supervised location to provide structure, routine, and assistance for distance learning. Sites will be located throughout district and community spaces 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, before and after school day care for students from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m."

People can visit spokaneschools.org/express to learn more and register.

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

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