Photos courtesy of Federal Way Public Schools
Left, two Decatur High School students work in class on the first day of school, April 19. Right, a student smiles from behind a mask on the first day of school on April 1.

Photos courtesy of Federal Way Public Schools Left, two Decatur High School students work in class on the first day of school, April 19. Right, a student smiles from behind a mask on the first day of school on April 1.

Majority of Federal Way students stay in remote learning

As all schools statewide have reopened under the governor’s order, 64% of Federal Way students have opted to continue learning from home, according to data from Federal Way Public Schools.

Of the approximately 20,872 total students in the district, about 64% — or 13,383 students — are enrolled in remote learning as of April 19.

In grades 2-5 combined (6,160 students total), 41% of students in grades 2-5 are enrolled in hybrid learning (part remote classes and part in-person classes) and 59% are fully remote.

Grade 2 has the highest rate of hybrid learners in the grade span at 43% while grades 3 and 5 have the lowest rate of hybrid learners at 40%, with 60% of students in remote learning.

In grades 6-12 (11,331 students total), 30% of students are enrolled in hybrid learning, while 70% of students are fully remote.

Grades 6 and 8 have the highest rate of hybrid learners in the grade span at 33%, and grade 12 has the lowest rate of hybrid learners at 25% — with 75% of 12th-grade students in remote learning.

At the youngest levels (3,381 students total), about 54% of students in preschool, kindergarten and first grade are in remote learning.

At the preschool level, 58% of preschool students are enrolled in hybrid learning; 46% of kindergarteners are enrolled in hybrid learning; and 42% of first-grade students are enrolled in hybrid learning.

Grades 6-12 returned to in-person classrooms on April 19. Preschool students through grade 1 returned March 15, grades 2-3 returned March 29, and grades 4-5 returned on April 1.

On the first day of in-person learning on April 19, a significant number (40%) of students in grades 6-12 had parents who did not complete the required daily health screening before their child arrived, which caused delays and long lines during the arrival process, said Kassie Swenson, chief of communications for FWPS.

However, after a reminder to parents and smoothing out the first few days, students and families quickly adjusted to the new processes.

As a result, on the second day of secondary hybrid learning, the district saw an increase to 80% of grades 6-12 parents completing the health screening, Swenson said.

For all students, daily health screenings, mask wearing, spaced-out desks and temperature checks upon arrival are mandatory.

Since the district began hybrid learning in March 2021, there have been 58 reported positive COVID-19 cases involving students with a total of 63 since the beginning of the school year, Swenson said, as of April 28.

All positive cases to date are a result of family or community transmission infection and there have been no school-based outbreaks, Swenson said.

Demographics

For racial demographics of grades 2-5 students, about 70% of students who identify as Pacific Islanders are in remote learning. Higher than average rates of students identifying as Hispanic, Native American and white are participating in in-person learning, ranging between 42-50% of students returning to classrooms.

Students who identify as two or more races have returned to classrooms at a rate close to the average, while Asian and Black students are among the highest of student groups choosing to stay in remote learning.

For the racial demographics of students in grades 6-12, about 76% of Asian students have selected remote learning. Students identifying as Hispanic, Native American and white are returning to classrooms at a higher-than-average rate.

Over 70% of students who identify as either Black or Pacific Islander are in remote learning. About 30% of students who identify as two or more races are enrolled in in-person learning.

As of the 2019-2020 school year, Federal Way Public Schools had more Hispanic students than any other demographic at about 32%, followed by white students at about 24% and approximately 15% Black students. The district consists of 12% Asian students, 11% of students who identify as two or more races, 6% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students and 1% of Native American students.

Nationwide, white students returned to classrooms at higher rates than students in minority community groups, according to an April 26 analysis by Politico. However, factors such as the demographic makeup of a city, low-income levels and total population affect data both across the country and locally.


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A student smiles from behind a mask on the first day of school on April 1. Photo courtesy of Federal Way Public Schools

A student smiles from behind a mask on the first day of school on April 1. Photo courtesy of Federal Way Public Schools

A breakdown of the number of students who chose remote or hybrid learning as of April 19. Courtesy of FWPS

A breakdown of the number of students who chose remote or hybrid learning as of April 19. Courtesy of FWPS

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