In a year full of challenges, one of the biggest challenges has been preparing to bring students back to school for in-person learning. We will postpone the start of hybrid learning, which was scheduled to begin March 1 with PreK, kindergarten and first grade.
Our teachers and staff have done amazing work in distance learning, but there are important aspects of our students’ educational needs that cannot be met remotely, particularly the social-emotional needs of our most vulnerable students. We are doing all we can to facilitate vaccinations for school staff, but the vaccine roll-out is behind schedule on the state and national levels.
We have been working diligently with Highline Education Association and Teamsters to agree on a plan that keeps everyone as safe as possible. We all have a common interest in protecting the health and safety of our staff. We cannot educate children without healthy staff who have confidence in the safety measures in their work environment. We will continue to work toward agreement on a plan that relies on data, science and the most current public health guidance.
Even with the strongest safety plan, it is natural to feel apprehensive about coming back to buildings. Though case counts are going down in our county and the nation, we are not yet through the pandemic. We are absolutely committed to making our schools as safe as possible.
We hope to transition to hybrid learning soon. We will keep the planned school schedule this week, with mostly independent learning to give teachers time to prepare for hybrid. All class changes will be made on schedule as planned. Distance learning will continue until further notice.
All elementary grades and IAC classrooms are affected by this delay. Our ILC classes are not impacted and will continue as usual.
We recognize the change in our timeline has an impact on our families. Childcare is available for families who need it.
We are grateful for the patience of our families and the hard work of our staff to prepare for hybrid learning. We will keep everyone informed on a new start date.