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Kent School District will start with remote learning in the fall

After consulting with parents, staff and health officials, the Kent district determined it would be best to start the school year with remote learning.

KENT, Wash. — The Kent School District has announced that schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with remote learning. 

The district looked at data from a staff and family survey, as well as guidance from health officials and the district’s Back to School Task Force in making the decision to start remotely for the upcoming school year. 

“We have worked for months to identify ways to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, and still provide a meaningful learning experience in-person. I believe beginning the school year in remote learning is the best option for our entire KSD community, given the current challenges presented by COVID-19 to both educate our students and keep everyone safe,” Superintendent Calvin Watts said in a statement.

The district said it learned a “great deal about remote learning” when they had to close during the pandemic and officials are continuing to make improvements. 

Remote learning will be consistently provided with more explicit expectations and accountability for instruction and assignments, the district said. Learning opportunities and support for families on the districtwide learning management system, supplemental learning applications, and student-teacher communication platform will also be provided, according to the district. 

According to the survey sent out to staff and families, the majority of KSD family respondents oppose or strongly oppose full in-person school (56%). Support for the hybrid or full remote model is equal at 47%. 

The district said 65.7% of staff members who took the survey said they feel “somewhat uncomfortable or very uncomfortable” returning to work in-person for the 2020-21 school year.

In the coming weeks, the district will be focusing on finalizing its improved remote learning plan, including professional learning for all staff and supports for students, families, and staff. 

The final version of the plan will be shared with the Kent School Board and posted on the district’s website on Aug. 3. Community feedback will be accepted at that time online or via Zoom. 

The remote learning school year will begin on August 27.