Heading “back to school” this fall will look different for Federal Way Public Schools students and staff than in previous years — with two days of in-person instruction and three days of remote learning per week, according to the superintendent.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has altered usual education routines and other societal normalities, Federal Way Public Schools officials have been analyzing dozens of hybrid schooling models for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
In a July 10 newsletter to students, parents and families, Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell outlined the possibilities for September by looking at the geographical layout of the district, number of staff, number of buses and guidelines for social distancing.
The FWPS team identified two hybrid models, both of which would allow safe face-to-face instruction for students.
Hybrid Model option 1 would allow students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade to receive face-to-face instruction two days per week and engage in remote learning for the other three days of the week.
Hybrid Model option 2 would allow for students in pre-kindergarten through 4th grade to receive face-to-face instruction three days of the week and engage in remote learning two days per week. Students in grades 5-12 would receive face-to-face instruction one half-day per week (either morning or afternoon session) and would engage in remote learning for the remaining four days per week.
FWPS conducted a survey in June to gauge district input, and heard from more than 5,000 parents and 1,800 staff members, the newsletter said.
The final survey results indicate nearly 60% of parents and about 70% of staff prefer Hybrid Model option 1 for the upcoming school year.
If Washington state allows face-to-face instruction in the fall, FWPS will attend school face-to-face two days per week and conduct remote learning three days per week, the newsletter said.
The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Reopening Washington School district planning guide can be read at www.k12.wa.us, which issues guidance for public and private K-12 schools based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health.
In addition to the plans, FWPS is purchasing safety equipment such as masks for staff and students, thermal thermometers for schools, and plexi-glass barriers for front office staff, the newsletter said.
Officials are also analyzing how to implement social distancing strategies in classrooms, and are reviewing other aspects of school operations, such as transportation and nutrition services, the newsletter said.
“We are currently refining our plans to keep the virus out of our school buildings, mitigate infection once students and staff are in schools, and identify clear steps that we will take if a scholar or staff member tests positive for COVID-19,” said Campbell, adding that more information about reopening schools will be shared in the coming weeks.