OLYMPIA ––The Olympia School District (OSD) released the beginning of a Fall 2020 reopening plan this week, which reflects several efforts to remain flexible as the expected second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic plays out in the coming months.
OSD officials plan to follow guidance from the State Department of Health (DOH), which is telling schools to focus on hygiene, physical distancing and other public health considerations. For some, fall reopening may be face to face, entirely online or a hybrid of the two. For still others, that might mean not bringing back every student in the fall.
“Districts are under very strict guidance from the Department of Health around social distancing and other factors they have to consider when bringing students and our staff back,” said Chris Reykdal, superintendent of public instruction, in a June 20 video. “Safety for our students and our staff is our number one priority.”
OSD officials also said in a list of recommendations released this week that the district would form a health committee to advise administrators at each campus during the fall. Other recommendations included providing a way for families to continue online instruction for their child if they choose to keep their student home, and to move classroom instruction outdoors when appropriate.
OSD officials will still take comments and suggestions from the community, school officials said in the list of recommendations, and work with students to further refine the plan in coming weeks.
“The district will also conduct listening sessions with school communities and student focus groups to help refine the plan,” school officials wrote in the list of recommendations.
Schools will still be required to meet the 180-day or 1,027-hour instructional requirements regardless of whether that instruction is face to face or online, and schools statewide were instructed to make changes as necessary if schools are ordered to close again this year.