Hybrid Learning Webinars
We have adapted our plans as the pandemic evolves. Some of the information in these webinars may have changed. Please see our Hybrid section for the latest information.
This is an auto-generated transcript.
Okay you're good to go thank you good evening everybody and welcome to our second family webinar of the day on our return to learn plan here in Highline Public Schools. Before we begin I want to thank our interpreters and all of the staff who are with us tonight and some who are not who have worked incredibly hard on putting this plan together. Kyle you can go to the next slide. So before we get going, I want to ask that you use the q a feature not the chat function. Please type your questions into the q a box and staff will be responding to as many of those questions in the chat in the q a box as we go through the next hour. We will also have time at the end of our presentation to answer some of your questions verbally as well but please use the q a box for questions and our staff will do their best to get you answers
So we begin where we always do with our promise and our promise is to know every student by name strength and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose. It has never been more important or more challenging for us to deliver on this promise. And the plans that we are going to share for you tonight about returning some of our learners back into school buildings is not perfect and we know that sadly it will not work for all families, however, we are working amidst many constraints and competing interests and given the that the health and safety guidelines we accommodate the state guidance that we have to accommodate knowing what our staff and families are prioritizing we have come up with the very best plan we can given the world that we are living in right now. So we just want to give that disclaimer up front. It is not the plan that any of us would ideally choose, but it is simply the best we can do at this point in time. And so we ask that you bear that in mind as we move forward and know that we will continue to hear your concerns and your questions and respond to them as best we can as we move forward together. Kyle.
So for those of you who attended our prior family webinars over the past several months you may be familiar with our guiding principles. They have not changed as I said we begin always from our Highline promise of keeping our students at the center. The health and safety of our students our families our staff has always been our top priority and continues to be we've worked hard over the last several months to engage with our families our staff our community our students as best we can in this virtual environment and as we've made decisions on students that we can bring back and serve in person we have really worked to prioritize not just what the state guidance says in terms of who can return but those students whom we know rely on our schools the most. And finally our goal is to as quickly and safely as we can get as many students back into their school buildings where we all want them to be um so that they can reconnect with their peers and their teachers and the staff in our buildings because we miss them very much. Kyle. There we go so I want to begin with why we are announcing our return to learn plan now for in-person learning and the biggest reason other than the fact that we know our children do better when they're in school rather than learning elsewhere for the most part is that the governor issued revised state guidance in December. And as you can see under the high category even when COVID activity rates in the community are high the state guidance is that we phase in in-person learning in smaller groups 15 or under for students in grades pre-k through 5 and for those who need special support services. You will see that for middle and for high school those have to come later that our current COVID activity rates would not support that but do support bringing back our youngest learners and our students with special needs so this is why now Kyle and here's the good news.
We actually have had some students in our schools now for I think roughly six weeks or so I’m hoping a staff member will let me know if that's about right. We actually began planning in October to bring back students in our ILC programs because we know that they really need the services that they get in person in their buildings and so for the past several weeks we've had about 150 students districtwide in their classrooms with their teachers for part of the day. And I can tell you we have had very very few issues at all and this is a testament to the work that staff did not just district staff school staff our HEA partners in making sure that we had all of the safety health and safety and cleaning protocols in place as you can see everyone has their PPE on everybody is masked we've we um have allowed for social distancing and having been in several of these classrooms over the past several weeks as I have been I can tell you that um it is pure joy um to see students and teachers and staff together in person again and the joy and the masks can't hide the smiles um they are happy to be together and we are happy that we have that we have developed what we believe are very solid safety health and safety protocols excuse me to ensure the safety of our staff and our students Kyle so again why now we talked about the state guidance but I also said it's because we know that our students do better um learning in school versus at home for the most part we know there are some for whom it has worked very well but we hear every day from families and students who wish that they were back in their school buildings we know they need it for their social emotional development we know they need it for their academic development we know the importance of routines we know the importance of the relationships that our students build with their peers their friends and their teachers and staff in the buildings and we simply know that we are not meeting many of our students needs in this distance learning environment there is no substitute for in-person learning Kyle so here's our current plan uh based on state guidance and based on the fact that we know our st our students need to be back in school it's a phase-in plan so the initial phase the one that we are in right now is students in our ILC and CBS programs the second phase would be our pre-k students our kindergarten students and our first grade students and students in our IAC programs k through 12. the third phase would be students in grades two and three and the fourth phase would be students in grades four and five we are we have been working on and will continue to work on fine-tuning safety plans for every school building consistent protocols and we'll talk a little bit later in the webinar about all of the safety measures we are taking whether it is PPE or ventilation um we will get to that but we have all those plans in place and as I alluded to earlier based on state guidance we are planning for a hopeful return of middle in high school but right now we do not have a timeline for when middle and high school students would return because that is contingent upon the covet activity rates per state guidance Kyle so a little bit of a timeline governor uh closed schools in march and we've been in distance learning ever since in October we began planning for students in ILC and CBS to come back and as I said in november we were actually able to bring back those students for in-person learning with the governor's new guidance in December it became clear that we needed to revisit our initial plans for hybrid instruction that we had developed over the spring and summer but put on hold when we decided to remain in distance learning for the first part of the school year so in as we are in January we're now announcing an elementary phased-in return and as of today our return date is march 1st so on march 1st we look forward to welcoming our pre-k k and first grade students and students in our iac programs back into school buildings for the first time in a long time Kyle so I asked I I answered the question why now and and then sort of the question why march 1st well march 1st is six weeks away and that gives all of us time to familiarize ourselves with the plan to make for families to plan accordingly and make the decision if they choose to send their child back for in-person learning or remain in full distance learning which is an option it allows the district to make sure that we've worked out all of the details that need to be when I tell you that this is a complex endeavor I am i am um understating uh to the to an extreme there are so many deals that go in details rather that go into making a hybrid model like this work and we want to make sure that we get it right and that's why we've established a march first date I also want to be clear that Highline is not an exception we are not alone this is a this is a partial list it's not an entity it's a partial list of districts in our region that um have already gone back or are planning to go back even before we are into some form of in-person phased-in learning um to be clear uh there are districts in our state like spokane and mead that actually have had students in for several weeks uh and and with great success and there are districts around the country that have also had students in actually for months with great success and so we feel compelled to um give our Highline students the opportunity that so many other students around the state and country have had which is to be back in person safely with their peers and their teachers and so with that we are now going to share with you some of the more the details that we're sure you have questions about and then as I said when we get to the end of the presentation we will have time for um we will again respond to more of the questions that you've typed in and at this point I will turn it over to our chief academic officer suzanne jurdy thank you dr enfield and good evening everyone and it's great to see so many people with us this evening so yes we want to talk about a little bit about what it looks like we still have more planning work to do but we have a lot in place already so as Susan stated we are going to phase in this this process currently ILC and CBS is in place we're moving to march 1st students in pre-k k grade 1 and iac k12 there will be a minimum of two weeks before we bring in the second phase or the next phase in this work we want to make sure that everything's in place we want to tighten up the systems and we know that the more students we have in place the more systems have to be tight and moving well and then another two weeks minimum before we bring in grades four and five so what will it look like Kyle so here's a graphic that kind of shows the model that we have currently planned for march 1st so for those families choosing in person or hybrid students would be placed in an a or a b cohort for their in-person instruction so group a would attend in the morning four days a week Monday Tuesday Thursday and Friday consistent schedule four days building some routine and practices along the way group b would attend in the afternoon Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday each of these in-person sessions would be 2 hours and 15 minutes this model will have no lunch or recess and the reason for that one is to make sure we're really optimizing instructional time with teachers in front of students but also for safety reasons to decrease the interaction and the interaction between students and amongst classrooms students attending in-person instruction for the am or pm would engage independently at home for the rest of their day but they would still have some online classes like music and pe and library but they would still have six hours of learning including the at-school time and the at-home time utilizing seesaw online but also other materials the beauty of being in person for two hours and 15 minutes is kids are going to be able to access more instructional materials easily so not everything is online and you can see here that wednesdays will be at home distance learning similar to what we're providing for students right now next slide so yes we believe that being in person most of our students will do better and are ready for being in person again however we also know there's a reason for some families to make a decision to continue in distance learning and you will have that option to con to continue in distance learning if you so choose next slide we also know that one question that we've already seen in the chat many times and is important to many families is do I get to choose morning or afternoon on our survey you will be able to indicate your preference for am or pm and if the numbers work out we're going to do everything we can to make sure you get your preference but there's no guarantees we have to make sure kids are safe and for that reason we have to limit the number of students per for each session to make sure we can maintain that six foot distance we also know the importance of relationships and especially for our youngest learners and at a time of uncertainty and our goal is to keep all of their students with their current teachers to the extent possible however whether you as a family choose to remain in distance learning or you re choose to go to in person we can't guarantee you're going to be able to stay with your teacher we're going to do everything possible and if the teacher is in person and you choose in person you will be able to stay with your teacher but we just want you to know that there will be some changes that need to be made in student placement for us to maintain safety and to make sure we take care of our students and our staff and the other part of that equation is we will have staff that may not be returning to school so we're going to have to make some decisions for kids next slide so this graphic just gives you an idea of what the day looks like we will be asking all families to complete an attestation indicating um the and a testing that health of their student when they send them to school when they arrive at school and scott will go through our safety protocols in a moment they for the am cohort they will be at school from nine o'clock to 11 15 so 2 hours and 15 minutes they will then get on the bus or be picked up or walk and go home have lunch but then they will again engage in asynchronous learning including some online zoom classes as I indicated earlier next slide for pm the opposite is true students will actually start their day at home doing asynchronous learning and with some online classes with pe music and library travel to school and they will be at school from 1 45 to 4 o'clock one thing to know we have many dual language programs and we've worked really hard to make sure that our language program is still feasible with this model so students in dual language may spend monday and tuesday in english with math and integrated language arts and then thursday friday in spanish with math and integrated language arts so we want to make sure that you know that they'll still have the same schedule 4 days a week 2 hours and 15 minutes in in-person school but we will be able to take care of the language needs and continue developing that by literacy so with that I’m going to turn it over to our chief engagement and partnership officer Kisa Hendrickson good evening I’m happy to be here and also happy to see we have a quite a few folks participating and listening so I’m going to share with you a little bit about what we are doing in terms of responding to COVID and making sure we are keeping folks as safe as possible Kyle next slide please or whoever's running this slide I was writing the slides okay so we aren't starting fresh with our covet safety protocols we have had our ILC and CBS special education programs open for quite some time at 17 schools serving 155 students and 145 staff have been on site to our knowledge that has been reported to us we have not had any covert contractions as a result of staff and students being on campus what we have had is contr you know there have been positive cases but they have been contracted outside of the school setting contracted in the community and we've been able to respond accordingly when we receive that information and next slide please so we want you to know that we actually have a very clear covet reporting process and a response process if a student has tested positive for COVID they are to report that information right away as soon as possible to their teacher principal or school nurse what happens is on our end once we receive that report we identify who that student was in close contact with student or staff was in close contact with we define close contact using the public health definition meaning someone who is less than six feet apart for more than 15 minutes it doesn't make a difference whether they're masked or unmasked it's that sit less than six feet for more than 15 minutes once we identify anyone who is considered a close contact we reach out to them and let them know that they've been exposed to covet and to follow up with either public health or their health care provider from there the school nurse will follow up with the student and their family to get gather information about any symptoms get some of their contact and graphic information we will send notifications out to the broader school community if there is a positive case just because we want to be open and transparent about anything that's showing up in our schools you'll receive a notification and receiving that notification doesn't mean that you were exposed I want to drive the point home if you were exposed you will receive an actual phone call or a communication telling you you were actually exposed to covet and we are also talking about building up a dashboard so that we can just be as transparent as possible so that you can see any cases that are happening in our schools thank you next slide we want to share with you information about what happens if we have an outbreak of covet in a classroom or in a school so again this is uh information that was provided to us guidance provided to us from public health if if there is an outbreak in a classroom that classroom would switch to distance learning for 10 days and you'll see there's an asterisk next to the 10 days because it depends on that's the public health guidance and you may have noticed that the 14 day quarantine period was shortened to 10 days or seven days depending on the circumstances so we're going to air at 10 days but we'll follow up individually if students and individuals need to be out longer but basically what you need to know if there are two uh or more students or staff who are in the same room who test positive for COVIDin that it can't be traceable to to an exposure somewhere else so maybe they got exposed in their family or or wherever they were that didn't have anything to do with the school it has to be that they were traced back to that classroom um and that they these cases or the symptoms started within 14 days of each other and that we can confirm that they were in fact in close contact with each other those are the instances where we would close a classroom down for kobit and would switch to distance learning and then the next slide please some I feel like somehow we missed the school closure um but what you need to know if the school needs to close is if two or more classrooms needed to close for copa meaning that there was an outbreak in the school so the point is that we have a safety protocol designed by public health that informs us of when we need to close the school or a classroom this is just an example of one of the tools that public health has provided us as well they've provided us with many many tools to help us make the decisions this is a chart where we would ask about your symptoms when you were exposed um and and this will help us determine when it's safe for a student or staff member to return back to school so this is what our school nurses and our health services team are using to help inform our decisions about when it's safe to return I think next slide we have a couple more slides I want to share a little bit of information Highline Public Schools we are one of 12 school districts we are currently piloting an on-site covet test testing station we are very much in the beginning stages of planning this and essentially what it is is the opportunity to provide covet testing for available to staff and students unfortunately we cannot make it available to families because of health privacy laws but this is a test that would be available to staff and students we are seeking to partner with health organizations to support us in this effort but we are excited about this opportunity because we think it's one more layer that will help keep our students and staff safe while they're in the building thank you next slide um and I’m sure you probably have been hearing about the coveted vaccinations and how they're being released in Washington state we are watching closely about the release of the vaccinations for our staff um there is actually a team of folks at central office myself included and a couple other folks on this call that are planning to ensure that this opportunity is available to our staff we have a partnership forming with Safeway and Albertson’s pharmacy where we'll be able to provide vaccination clinics to our staff um so as soon as we know more information about when they're available we will be ready to roll that out to our staff but when they're released that part is very much out of our control we will not make these vaccinations mandatory for staff but they will be available to any staff who would like to access them we're our hope no guarantee but these vaccinations will begin to be released late February or in march so stay tuned on that and I believe that's it for me and pass it over to my logan all right thank you keith uh appreciate that and all the work your team has been doing i can only imagine uh what you're going through so very much appreciated we'll talk a little bit here about uh we'll talk about school safety we're going to talk about transportation we're going to talk about the meal programs coming up here uh right now so first we'll address uh school safety plans and and each school in the district has their own comprehensive safety plan built specifically for that that school building each building is different both in the footprint that it has along with the way hallways are laid out and access points from buses to get inside the building and a lot of different differences with each one so each building has its own comprehensive safety plan these safety plans are are being designed in a team environment with building principles with a bargaining group represent representatives with the facilities staff we're trying to keep every get all of the opinions in the same room so that we're creating a safe plan across the board these safety plans also are living documents uh the either as we as we brought ILC and CBS back into the buildings we learned along the way some different more efficient or safer ways to do different procedures and adjusted those safety uh plans accordingly so that we could keep everything as safe as possible the other reason that these are living documents is as we go through this covet timeline the rules change from department of health or from state guidance um we get different changes as Kisa was talking about the change from 14 days to 10 days for quarantine so as these adjustments happen in the guidelines set forth from the state we go back and revisit our safety plans to make sure we're staying current keeping students and staff as safe as possible next slide Kyle so masks we hear people talking about masks a lot and masks are one of the key components to the safety plan for all of our students and staff but it masks are just one piece and this slide helps demonstrate uh the masking and how important that is it's first in line but hand washing is equally important and that's happening a lot during the day not just once when you arrive and when it's time to go home but at intermittent periods during the day for as students come back in there there will be lessons plans built lesson plans built around how we're going to keep students and staff safe which will include talking about hand washing physical distancing we've got the seating set up in classrooms so that students remain six feet apart every classroom in the district has been measured so we know the capacity of each classroom based on using that six foot social distancing measure uh disinfecting surfaces there's there's a couple of uh aspects to this one is the during the day each classroom has a kit that is provided that has user safe uh materials in there for wiping down desks for handrails different things inside the classroom if there's a spill there's ways to clean things up and keep it safe and these are all safe materials to be able to use while classes in session we have separate disinfecting processes in place for uh in between when the am and pm classes are are transitioning there's a two hour period where we can go through and and wipe down classrooms and disinfect we have an additional disinfecting and cleaning plan that happens at the end of the school day that involves the normal custodial duties of getting garbage out vacuuming all the normal but then we also have machines that go into the rooms and actually put a mist into the room that is then puts the finishing touch on the cleaning and the disinfecting for that room in areas where we don't we don't see or don't necessarily wipe down this will end up there it include goes into the hvac systems and make sure all those filters and vents are staying pure as well and finally is the screening or as you heard earlier the conversation about the attestation this is critical in uh in two ways one we want every parent and and every staff member to review and make sure that they're coming to school safe that they're healthy they haven't been exposed um there's a list of questions that you'll answer that you'll answer as far as symptoms that list is being revised right now because as we talked earlier the rules change the recommendations change and those symptoms that we're looking for the verbiage around that has changed so we update those documents as those changes occur. Next slide Kyle.
So on as we look at the different types of PPE or the personal protective equipment that's available being made available in the schools. Different roles within the school for staff members will require different levels of personal protective equipment. And you can see here in the picture we've got the normal face mask we actually have the n95 face mask for staff that will be managing a separation room. If a student gets sick while they're at school we need to separate them from the rest of the class while we wait for parents to come and pick them up. They actually have an n95 or a higher medical grade mask that they'll use. We have face shields. We have gowns. We have gloves and each different task in the in the day or staff will dictate what PPE they wear. We follow the department of health and CDC guidelines on making certain that staff have made available to them the appropriate PPE for the task at hand. Keeping both the students and the staff safe.
Again ventilation a lot of conversation about around ventilation our buildings. You know we have some pretty old buildings and we have some pretty new buildings in the district. We're lucky enough to have some pretty new buildings the least strength HVAC system will transfer air four times an hour or change air four times an hour in every classroom. We have some that do it actually at a higher rate than that which is above everything is at or above the health department health guidelines for ventilation. We have increased the frequency for filter changes in all of our systems district-wide this not only maintains good clean clear filters which helps enhance the filtering capabilities but it also allows for for a freer air flow through the filters which allows us to transition or transfer that air more times per hour in every classroom so it's a double win there next slide Kyle so student transportation the school bus mass Dr. Enfield addressed this earlier masks are required for staff and students every day so buses are no different. Masks will be required. We do have a reserve of masks that we'll put on every bus. So if a student loses their mask on the way to the bus stop or drops it in a mud puddle or something happens they don't have it anymore we'll be able to replace it and get them back in business.
Spacing. We talked a little earlier about the six foot spacing school buses and this sounds odd but school bus buses are exempt from the six foot distancing in the bus while they're transiting between to and from school. We are obligated to maintain the most space possible. But the reason there's different rules around school bus versus when you're in a classroom or at the grocery store is a school bus we're required to have windows open to the amount possible depending on weather. Obviously if it's 10 degrees outside we're not going to be able to have them wide open but we can have them still open the roof vents on the buses, which are all power vents are going to be open all the time with the fans running so that's going to be bringing fresh air in all the time in a bus. And then the hvac systems within the buses all have you know power vents and they'll be set on fresh air so all the air that they circulate the heated air will also be fresh air being heated up so we're again changing air you know in in the two and three minute range on a school bus compared to the difference to a classroom so that's the reason we're allowed the closer proximity uh for short term on school buses.
Students that live at the same address under the same roof will be able to sit right in the same seat next to each other those students are exempt from the six foot spacing I believe that's it on the school bus Kyle nick's slide and we'll start talking about the meal pickup um so I’m going to talk about two different situations with the meal pickup Kyle can you go to the next slide um we're going to be looking at that's too far we're going to talk about what we're doing right now and then when we when we bring students back in hybrid on on uh march first it's gonna will change our schedule will change because because of the needs i'll try and explain that so right now we've got uh we'll talk about hybrid first when hybrid begins and not before that the meal delivery schedule is going to change we're currently delivering meals in the communities five days a week and we are doing a weekly meal pick up on wednesdays the weekly meal pick up on wednesdays will stay on wednesdays but we won't be able to do the daily community delivery of meals when school's in session our buses will be taking students to and from school so what we will be doing is our weekly meal delivery will on wednesdays when we don't have students in school we're setting up routes around the the school district and buses will be able to deliver weekly meal packages to multiple locations around the community that you'll be able to pick up right at those bus stops along with at our production kitchen schools and all this information is posted on the website Kyle you want to go to the next slide i think that's yeah that's the one that has the website so all this information is available on our website and if you see the little button there this is the front page at highlineschools.org a little button that has the red circle around it right now in this picture you click there it will give you today and it will be updated on march 1st but what the schedule is today so you click there you can look at the menu for the week you can say I want to participate in the meal program how many students you have and you can look at all of the different locations within the district as well and say i'll pick it up at the bus stop that's by the church down the road from my house and then it'll say okay that bus will be there at this time and your meals will be on board you show up you pick up your meals and go home we really encourage everybody to participate in this any youth up to up to and through the year through 18 years old is eligible at no cost to eat in this program they do not have to be a current student at Highline all they have to do is be 18 years old or younger and they're eligible to eat for free either at the daily meal program or when we get into the weekly meal program they can get a week's worth of breakfast and lunch and there is no charge for this again if you go to the home page you'll see the little fork and spoon there click on there and every piece of information you could want is right there along with the ability to sign up for free for those meals I think at this point I hand it back to Dr. Enfield. mute myself
Yes you do thank you Scott and thank you team um as promised we want to um address some of the questions I’m going to start and then Catherine carbon I rogers our chief communications officer will um let us know if there are other themes that we want to address I first want to address questions around vaccinations so we are advocating loudly for educators to be prioritized on the vaccination list that however is not our decision the state is determining um who gets vaccinated in what order now do I believe that our our pre-k first second third kindergarten first second third grade teachers and teachers of students with special needs should be at the top of that list you bet I do that said and we will keep advocating for that that said as we indicated the vaccine is brand new and we have had students in school in this state and across the country for the last several months long before there was a vaccine so yes we will push for the vaccine we will encourage all of our staff to take the vaccine but we also believe we can begin to bring students back in small groups safely even while the vaccine is is in process of being disseminated with respect to us requiring the vaccine and and I I’m sure some of you read that Los Angeles unified has said that they will require the vaccine. I do not believe that is a decision that should be put on districts. I do not believe school districts have the knowledge or should they have the authority and responsibility to mandate who has to have a vaccine um that should be consistently applied across the state quite frankly across the nation however you see it and I don't think having individual districts um start deciding on what vaccine students must or must not have or staff must or must not have um is the right way to move forward so at this point should the state require the vaccine as they do with the measles vaccine and others of course we would honor that but we will not require it but we will highly encourage it and I can tell you that um you know all of us I believe who are on the screen tonight as staff will when our turn comes up whenever that may be we will readily show up to get that vaccine because we want to show folks that it is safe because we know how important it is I also do need to say this because it isn't required by the state that people get vaccinated it's not mandatory there will be some who choose not to so I think it's important to remember that even once the vaccine is made available to our educators not all of them will take it so there will not be a guarantee that everyone has the vaccine and so we can't wait for that day we need to begin phasing back in safely and as i've said we believe we can do it because we are doing it with our students in our ILC program so that is where we stand on vaccines we will keep pushing and we will communicate to you as we get more information from osp I and the department of health catherine other questions that uh we want to address sorry about that um there was a bunch of questions about well first of all the time frame for the am pm um uh in person times and um and then how much of the time will be actual education how much will be transition checking in that sort of thing and that's probably a suzanne question I’m happy to answer that one we're still developing a plans getting feedback from staff principals we are looking at a short transition um so there's two hours and 15 minutes short transition in the in the beginning about 50 minutes for I’m checking jennifer reining to check me to make sure I’m accurate about 15 minutes for math and about 50 minutes for integrated language arts but also about 20 minutes for class meeting and social emotional learning and then there's a time at the end there is a transition at the end because it's important that teachers can connect with their kids and help them know what their learning will be when they're at home so remember right now there's a lot on seesaw and teachers are communicating electronically with kids they're going to be in person so they'll be able to say so here's what we did this morning or this afternoon here's what you're going to do when you go back to your home so there will be about 15 minutes or so for that transition to make sure kids are set up for success so that when they do communicate or commute home then they're successful when they start their learning and the times again are 9 to 11:15 for the a.m. session and 1:45 to 4 o'clock for the p.m. And that block in the middle allows that cleaning to happen in the school. Thank you Suzanne.
So Catherine before you go to the next one I know that there were questions this webinar will be posted on the website uh by when this the powerpoint and the uh we I think it will be by late tomorrow. I hope um we do have to get it captioned and translated so for those of you who are asking if this webinar is recorded and you have access to this information yes it will be up on the website we hope by tomorrow but certainly Monday at the latest.
Suzanne there are a lot of questions about teacher assignment and whether families will know before they have to finalize their commitment whether their teacher will have to change um can you talk a little bit more about that so with this time we are asking all of our staff to return to work in person in those grades as indicated earlier however as also uh has been shared teachers have an option to apply for an accommodation which means working from home in this case or a leave of absence if needed and if they if appropriate so right now we are um expecting you know many teachers to come back um and at the same time we're asking for families to indicate their preference online or in person and we understand you want we want to stay with our teachers if at all possible um what we believe is going to happen is there's going to have to be a bit of a back and forth or iterative process where we create schedules and then make changes as much as we can linda I don't know if you have further details that would help but at this point we're still working out this is a bit of as Susan said earlier it's very complex this is a bit of a puzzle but we're really trying to make sure we have preferences of am and pm and then we know if people want online or distance learning or in person and we're going to do everything we can to keep our teachers and students together and what about siblings the question about siblings being at the same time slot that is definitely the plan that if you have a kindergartner and a first grader or kindergartner and when second grade comes back they would be at the same time slot there were some questions about the rationale for going from the aabb to two day a week model two half day four days a week can you speak to that yes so and actually just this week many of us have been talking to districts across the state some of them have the aabb model where kids are there full days some of them have the half day model that we are identifying right now because we're focusing on our youngest learners um that preschool kinder first second third we really felt that touches more frequently in person with a teacher and with peers was more beneficial for our youngest learners so kids build routine they build structure they build understanding and practices that help them learning because they're doing something similar on a daily basis the aabb model would require our youngest learners to be independent for three days and we felt that they really needed more teacher interaction or we would have they would have to have different teachers with them throughout those three days so we felt that this kept some continuity um with teachers and students the other thing that we had to consider is full days mean lots of transitions means lunch and recess those are good things but they also um were more complex to make sure that we can continue to keep our staff and our students safe um adding on to that um katherine I just want to add uh lindsay has a a comment here about this being such a hardship for working in blended families um lindsay we are painfully aware of that and as I said up front we know that this model that we have developed sadly will not work for all families and I so wish that we could make that different but to some of the reasons that suzanne has pointed out we have to work with the staff that we have we have to make sure that we are adhering to the safety guidance meaning I believe that we are saying 14 or fewer students per classroom suzanne the state guidance is 15 or fewer we are mandating 14 or fewer so we simply can't with six foot distancing um have all of our students back at once and as suzanne said um the a a b b a b um there are there are um trade-offs and drawbacks to all of the models but given all of the information that we have in our current context we believe that this was the best of the bad options that we could put forward and I’m i'm so sorry that we can't come up with something that works for everybody that would be our goal we simply cannot given where we are right now catherine any others do we want to talk just briefly I know there are a few around child care I’m happy to share a little bit he said that would be great thank you okay so regarding child care uh we the entire time we've been back um and distance learning we've had a partnership with the ymca and we will continue that partnership with the ymca they will be able to provide before and after and full day child care unfortunately because of state space limitations the sites will have to move currently there at shorewood elementary and hilltop elementary schools open to all students in the district but they will have to transition to another site so we are exploring that next site and we'll find have that detail finalized here in the next few weeks we also have a partnership with right at school and they will also have child care available these child care programs are fee based so there is a cost I know the ymca does have subsidies for those who qualify as they are licensed by the state because we know that transportation to and from and and partial days can be a barrier we will be able to provide transportation from the home school to the child care site as needed so please stay tuned for more information on that as we finalize details kisa while you're speaking there was a question about whether there will be full-time nurses in every school yes um so you may be aware that we have never received enough funding to provide full-time nurses at every school pre-pandemic and we don't have additional funding to cover that however um the duties of the school nurse can be covered splitting between schools as as they do now um if the question is around cobit safety protocols we are providing training to staff that are returning to the building um soon it hasn't happened yet but it will be happening prior to their return so that all staff are aware of the safety measures and protocols for needs related to COVIDwe have our health services director and team and nurses that are available for phone consultations to be able to support as needed suzanne I don't there's been a number of questions around uh monitoring bathroom breaks um what will students uh having to go to the bathroom look like uh for in-person learning well I I don't know if I am the best one yet to describe that but I know that our principals have safety plans in place they've been working for weeks to put those together and they are very skilled in making sure there's a process um I do know that bathrooms will be assigned to students based on their classroom so they're not traveling across the school and there will be structured approaches I wish I had more details but I don't well no I I’m you you you alluded to exactly what i wanted you to that each school is going to have its own safety plan that has been developed in partnership with the district and and the date by which those safety plans have to be finalized uh linda or sue what is the date by which safety plans will be finalized um we'll share those no later than February10th okay I just wanted families to know so you um will be able to ask your your child's principal by after February10th to see that safety plan right to know what it looks like in your building there's some questions about the commitment piece and whether families would be able to switch from one model to the other and also what does a non-response default to so if a family doesn't answer do they want to go in person or st or stay remote what what happens so if you could speak to those linda or so we hope that all families have enough time between now and january 29th to make a real informed decision to work with their schools to decide what's best for their child so that they're confident with that decision for the rest of the year we understand things may change though so we will have some flexibility based on availability in the different programs but we won't be able to accommodate a lot of switching in and out because of the disruption it causes with student and staff reassignment the second part of the question was about a default so we are working with school staff to make sure we hear from every family if we haven't heard from a family we're going to use multiple ways to reach out and we're planning space to see if we can fit them in person if they do when we hear from them but if there's a chance they would have to stay fully remote so it all depends on this jigsaw we're putting together with the staff that is returning in person and the family responses which thank you families for taking the time in the next couple weeks to really think deeply gather more information and make an informed decision and linda another question too around families who may not have access to or be as savvy with technology we are asking our principals and staff as well so as as we start getting the responses and we know that we have gaps we'll be asking building staff to do outreach correct yes and it could be as simple as a family member coming onto a zoom call and notifying the teacher of their preference we would prefer them to do the commitment form because it's easier for our data collection but we will do whatever we can to make sure that we can hear from families Susan there was a question about what can family families do to advocate for prioritizing school staff and teachers in the vaccine process yeah that's a good question um I I think that um you know uh writing um your congressman sending a a letter to the governor's office to OSPI. I can tell you though that there we are all putting uh superintendents across the state are putting significant pressure on um OSPI and the governor's office to um prioritize our educators and um but lend your voice I think that would be wonderful to speak up on behalf.
And I am monitoring time I know we have two minutes, Catherine is there any other um major question that we haven't addressed before we wrap up there are a ton of questions that we haven't gotten to and what I want to say is that um we we are able to capture these questions and we will um take the ones that that are the most sort of most pressing or most most asked and turn those into frequently asked questions that we will put on our website. And then um if you have a question that hasn't been answered then maybe it's something that's more unique to you we will have an email address that you can uh ask questions too and we'll excuse me we Catherine and I talk today and we'll make sure that the FAQs are organized in such a way that you will be you will be uh able to find what you're looking for easily. So if you have a question under health and safety here's that section if you have a question under the school schedule here's that here's the answer there or child care etc so we'll try to make that information as accessible as possible and with that I want to thank you all um all told with the number of participants we had tonight and this morning over 2000 people participated in our webinars today and that is wonderful because we need the conversation to keep going and we want to make sure that good accurate information is getting out there so as Catherine said please uh use the email with um to send questions to if you don't see them on the faq you can always also ask your um child's principal as well um and we will continue to get information to you as we know it and if if state guidance changes if anything changes we will certainly communicate that and let you know if that changes our plans at all but right now we are going to be working as hard as we can as fast as we can to make sure that we are prepared to welcome back our students who choose to come back for in-person learning on march 1 and I know that many of us really can't wait for that day so thank you very much for being a part of this conversation tonight and we will continue to reach out and to hear from you thank you everybody stay safe and stay strong and stay healthy
Good evening, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you to our interpreters for making sure that all of our families can access tonight's information. This is our latest Return to Learn update, and I'm joined by members of our wonderful Highline team, and we will walk you through some information. Please type your questions into the Q&A box, and we will answer those as we go and also share some of them, probably verbally, before we end our time together. So with that, Kyle.
So we begin everything in Highline by grounding ourselves in our Highline promise-- to know every student by name, strength, and need, so they graduate prepared for the future they choose. Now, more than ever, our Highline promise is incredibly important. Kyle.
And it tops our guiding principles. I'm not going to read through all these with you. I think that many of you are familiar with them at this point, since these have been guiding us over the past several months. But as we have said, keeping the needs of our students and the health and safety of our families, staff, and students are guiding our decisions, along with making sure that we are engaging with our families and community through this time as best we can. Kyle.
So what are we going to cover today? We are going to talk about where we are now. We'll discuss internet access and support. We will have a teaching and learning update, a health and safety update, and share some trending questions. So what are the things that we're seeing coming up in the Q&A themes and things that we think everybody would benefit from hearing. Kyle.
So I do want to point you to our Highlineschools.org, our website, and on the website, if you go up to the top, there's a Return to Learn tab. This is updated constantly by our wonderful communications team, and there, you will find a family guide, information on tech support, FAQs that are constantly being updated, along with recordings of these webinars. Kyle.
So as you know, we made the very difficult decision last Friday to remain in distance learning until the end of January, our first semester. And that decision was based primarily on the COVID activity that we're seeing in King County. And as you likely know, we are seeing the COVID positive rates rise. We're seeing it nationwide, we're seeing it here in the state, and we're seeing it in King County. But it's not just the King County average that guides our decision. We monitor the city-specific numbers, because the COVID rates are higher in South King County versus King County overall. And so that's important to note. Kyle.
So why did we make this decision? First and foremost, as I said, it's in the best interest of health, the health and safety of our students and staff. We have been clear and consistent in following guidance from the Department of Health and Public Health, and they've set a very clear threshold that we have to meet in order to bring groups of students back into school for in-person learning. And we are simply not near those targets and that threshold, so it was not safe to return.
Additionally, there is tremendous anxiety among families and staff and students around returning for in-person learning. And a lot of emotional energy and stress was being put into wondering, are we, aren't we? And we really wanted to sort of take that off of people's shoulders, because everyone has so much to deal with right now. And now, even though it's not the decision that we wanted, because we desperately want to see our students and our staff back in our buildings, we can now focus our energies on figuring out how we best support our students, our staff, and our families to do distance learning well.
Yes, it's not ideal, but it is how we are doing school right now. And we want to be as good at it as we can. And if anybody can, Highline can. So we are focusing on hearing from staff, students, and families, what's working and what's not, and making adjustments as we go. And additionally-- and this is very, very preliminary. More information to come, because we need to talk with our principals.
We are looking at bringing small groups of students potentially back into buildings for supervised independent study. So these are for students who need access to internet and giving them at least a little bit of school time. We need to work out the details, but we're in conversations with our principals right now. And I'm guessing that that will likely be a topic of our next family update, which will happen in the coming weeks. Kyle.
So the one exception in the near future around bringing students back to school are our students with special needs, and specifically our ILC and CBS students. We will be bringing students in these classes back in extremely small groups beginning in early to mid November. We, like every other district in the region-- all districts that I know of are doing this-- these are students who simply cannot access the services and support they need in distance learning.
And we believe that the small class sizes, very small, and the investment that we've made in PPE to ensure that our students and staff are safe, that we are confident that we can do this and do it well and do it safely. So technology and internet access-- we know that this is critical. We've deployed tens of thousands of devices and hotspots and all of that, but we also know that our students need home internet access in order to connect. Kyle.
And so while we have been doing everything that we can to make sure that our students and families have reliable home internet access and working devices-- and Mark Finstrom will talk a little bit-- our chief technology officer will talk a little bit about that in just a moment-- I do want to mention that we made the decision to put a technology levy on the November ballot. I believe ballots were mailed yesterday or today, so we should all be receiving them soon. And Proposition 1 is our capital levy for educational technology improvements.
And we just know that the fact that our students will have to access their learning and connect with their teachers and their peers and their school community through technology means that we have to make this investment. I want to be clear, the need for this levy was there before the pandemic, but the pandemic has amplified it and given us a sense of urgency. We have to make sure that every student has a working device and reliable internet. Kyle.
So what will the November 3 tech levy fund? It will replace aging computers for students and staff. I would guess that there are some students and families with us this evening, who have a device that maybe isn't working as well as it should. We have some old devices that need to be replaced. They don't last forever. And so we want to make sure that all of our devices are in good working order. Again, I've mentioned the need for internet access, and we want to make sure that our teachers have ongoing training and support in addition to making upgrades to cybersecurity and classroom technology.
The good news is that this tech levy does not represent a tax increase, which is very, very good news. And so while the board and all of us are very mindful of putting a measure on the ballot, we believe this is absolutely essential right now for our students and staff in this moment. And with that, I will turn it over to our chief technology officer, Mark Finstrom.
Good evening, everybody. Thank you, Dr. Enfield. I'll make this pretty brief. I just want to make sure I start with-- we have the Family Assistance Center. So if you are in need of assistance with that device that you have, you can reach out to us at 206-631-7999 (this number is no longer available), or you can even send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But I want to go into a little bit more about the internet access and what Dr. Enfield has talked about. We have been very-- working very [AUDIO OUT] hard [AUDIO OUT] internet access to families, out to students. So we have a number of hotspots that are out there with schools, but we also have received from the state of Washington an offer that includes 10 months of free internet service.
And you have to have a promo code for that, and we're going to be sending out information to all the schools. And the schools will be in contact with the parents, guardians to make sure that you get one of those codes. And if you are in need of that, you can actually complete the application with that promo code and get Comcast Internet Essentials.
As we move forward, the tech levy has an opportunity for us to provide internet access to families, as well as meet the needs of student devices and teacher devices. So if you have any questions, again, email@example.com, 206-631-7999. And I believe chief academic officer, Susanne Jerde is next.
Thank you, Mark, and good afternoon. You know, as Susan said, we have some time before most of our students will be able to be in our schools. And what that means is with hybrid some time out, it's more important than ever that we ensure our students are achieving and growing. We've been working hard to ensure that all of our students and any students with learning loss due to the closure of our school buildings have the opportunity to be engaged and supported in grade level learning.
You know, historically, educators have used three basic approaches when we address learning loss. Slide, Kyle. One is one that's been around for decades, and that is retention. Kyle, thank you. And that's when students maybe be held back a grade level. They've fallen behind their peers. And we say they repeat a grade, or they're failing a grade. That's one that's been used for decades not to much effect.
The other one is social promotion, where students just move up with their grade level peers, and that has a lot of social benefits. But oftentimes, they're not given the opportunity to really learn the content in the way they need. And the third is remediation, where we might teach students, give them some skill support, and this does have some benefit.
But overall, it also doesn't get our students to where they need. The United States faced a smaller scale but similar natural disaster with Hurricane Katrina, quite a few years ago now, but the schools closed in the state of Louisiana for some time. And what we were able to learn from that was that these approaches did not make-- did not help the students get to grade level in the way they needed to.
So we've been able to learn, and we have been implementing a strategy that we call acceleration. Slide, please. And our approach in Highline is to support student learning not by teaching faster as what we think of when we think of the word, "acceleration," but really to make sure we provide grade level learning to all of our students with the needed supports as they are needed.
So that means our teachers are working hard. They are providing meaningful and engaging learning with both online and offline tasks, and they're going to continue to strengthen our distance learning approach. We know that their collaboration and working together is making a difference. And also, our partnership with our families is going to be more important than ever as well. Slide, please.
So based on the decision and the considerations that Dr. Enfield shared earlier, we are going to be planning to bring our students served in integrated learning centers and community-based service programs in person later this fall. The goal, assuming COVID rates decrease, is that second semester will then be able to phase in students by grade levels with at least a week in between. The going slow allows us to minimize the risk of transmission, and we chose this phase-in of grades, as you see here, as a way to keep students as separate as possible in the buildings as we get routines established, and making sure we're returning our pre-K and our K students as early as we possibly can.
We'll know more in the coming months, and obviously, this is our current thinking, and we're continuing to learn from others across the country what works and what works well. And as we continue to work with our staff, we'll plan to bring our students back with much success. And so we're really looking forward to seeing them. And with that, I'm going to turn it over to Mr Scott Logan, our chief operations officer.
All right, thank you, Susy, and welcome, everyone. Appreciate you spending time with us this evening instead of enjoying your nice, quiet, peaceful dinner. So we'll get through the health and safety portion of this pretty quick here. Just want to share some of the direction. I know Dr. Enfield mentioned earlier the Department of Health issuing guidelines, and we are definitely following direction that is given to the school district, and it's a combined set of directions that we're using from the Washington State Department of Health, from the Office of Superintendent to Public Instruction, and also, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
The opportunity to get this combined guidance really has streamlined the process for deciding how we respond and react, because it limits the amount of varying information we get from different entities. When they all combine, they gave us one final document to work from. So we will be working from those guidelines. We recognize that we can't eliminate the risk of COVID transmission, but we can minimize it, and that's our goal. Data shows the following safety protocols are very effective in limiting the spread, so next slide, Kyle. One more, Kyle. One more slide. There we go.
So there's really five pieces to this. The PPE is the one that you always hear people talking about, and the PPE is a critical piece of this whole process. But we have to combine that with the handwashing, which is going to be part of lesson plans for the younger students. It's also going to be practiced by all the adults in the building. Physical distancing-- we have classrooms set up to keep students spaced the six feet of physical distancing. To the best of our ability, we're going to maintain that six feet distancing throughout the school day.
Disinfecting surfaces-- this has two approaches to it. One is that during the day, every classroom will be provided with safe disinfecting and cleaning supplies that can be used for incidental cleanups during the day that are needed by the teacher while classes are going on. We do have scheduled and defined disinfecting and cleaning procedures that'll happen in every classroom, every evening as well. And the final piece of this is screening and what you'll hear reference as attestations in the school district world.
Every adult going into the building fills out an attestation before they enter that identifies that they claim themselves to be symptom-free, and it gives all the clues to look for to make sure you're accurate with that. We require that before you enter. We are-- we have a final draft now for the student attestation that's going to be as simple a document as we could create and still have it-- have the right safety results for everybody involved.
This will be available electronically, or you'll have options for phoning it in and in person for submitting student attestations as well. Our goal is to have as many attestations electronically as possible for students, limiting the amount of time we'll have to spend screening students as they arrive at the door to get them inside the building first thing in the morning. Next slide.
So personal protective equipment-- again, I talked about where our guidelines have come from. There's been some great-- a lot of in-depth work in defining which types of activities will require which types of PPE for the adults in the building. It's a requirement that every student wears a mask. For those students that lose their mask on the way to school or maybe something happens and they spill something on it, and they need a replacement, we're going to have a lot of masks on hand to help students deal with that in those situations throughout the day.
We have-- we have the appropriate PPE for whatever level of the work is already in inventory at Highline School District, so we'll be able to provide staff with appropriate PPE to keep themselves safe as the day progresses. Next slide, Kyle.
So here, you can see the five categories that the groups providing guidance have classified work inside schools so that we can identify at what level we need, which PPE. Each section-- the negligible, the low, the medium, the high, and the extremely high-- have their own set of direction for PPE required to perform those tasks.
Negligible transmission risk are situations where staff are alone. I'm sitting alone in my office right now, so I don't need to have a mask on. If a teacher is distance teaching from the classroom, is alone in the classroom, those are situations where you don't need a mask. If a custodian is on the second shift and alone cleaning a building, they're not going to have a mask on when they're doing that work, unless they're in a hazardous situation.
The next level is low transmission risk, and this is going to be, for general instruction setting, predominantly what we're going to have in schools. So when we get to the hybrid model where we're bringing back more students, and we have more classrooms, it's going to be, for the most part, low transmission risk. This is where we can maintain the six-foot social distancing and all of the other practices that identified in that earlier slide-- the handwashing, the sanitation, all the different tasks in that earlier slide.
Medium risk transmission-- this is going to be small group, maybe small group teaching, where six-foot distancing is mostly maintained but not always. There's a specific set of guidance around this level of risk for PPE. Again, students are only required for the mask. That's all that's required on the student side. There are adjustments for the adults in each of these situations.
High transmission risk-- that's where we're in sustained close contact, we require specialized PPE. There is going to be high transmission risk in some of the special ed programs. When we come back, [INAUDIBLE] see where we have students who need one on one direct contact support throughout the day. Those would be considered a high risk transmission. Our goal is to keep the students safe and the adults safe at the same time.
In an extremely high transmission risk, these are going to be the few and far between situations. Every school have an isolation room set up. If a student develops symptoms that are COVID-related, the student will be asked to go to the isolation room. There'll be an adult that will manage and supervise that room and have the appropriate PPE to manage that until a parent can come and pick up their child. There are a couple of situations where nurses working with [INAUDIBLE] care with kids who have those issues going on, hit with some different types of medication, personalized medications that will require the extreme high level of PPE.
And I believe, at this point, I am turning it over to Lita O'Donnell, I believe, for the responding to COVID.
Actually, I think it's going to go to Val.
It's Elaine. It's Elaine.
Thank you, Scott. Welcome, everyone. Welcome We want to talk a little bit now about responding to COVID cases and how we will do that in the district. The positive case reporting-- we'll talk a little bit about that. Close contact tracing-- when classroom or school closure would happen, that protocol, and then also, the great partnership that we have with Seattle King County Public Health, on which we work very closely with for the guidance and the protocols that we have in school. Let's see. All right.
So for reporting positive COVID cases, we would just like the families, students and families should report-- if your teacher is the first line person that you're talking to, report that to your teacher. But also please feel free to call the school and talk to your principal or your school nurse to report that information. And then the school nurse will follow up with the student and family for anything regarding symptoms and contact information. So we will have that information for Seattle King County Public Health. And anyone who has been exposed to someone with a positive test will be contacted by the school nurse.
So if there's a COVID outbreak, and your student is at risk of exposure, you'll be contacted by the school. If you do not receive a phone call, this means your student was not at risk. And any positive case at school, our health services team will consult with Seattle King County Public Health on what steps to take.
Next, please. OK. So for school closures, the school will close and switch to remote learning for 14 days when there's two or more classrooms dismissed due to outbreaks in the schools with 10 or fewer classrooms, or 10% of the classrooms dismissed or dismissed due to outbreaks in the schools with greater than 10 classrooms. So you don't have to remember these numbers. We will closely monitor this and follow King County Public Health guidance and inform you in these circumstances.
For the classroom closures, a classroom will close and switch to distance learning for 14 days when we have two or more students or staff in the same room area that test positive for COVID. The cases have symptoms that start within 14 days of each other, and someone was in close contact. And we just want to clarify that close contact is defined within six feet for 15 minutes or more with a person with a confirmed positive case. The cases-- and also, when we're looking at these cases, the cases aren't associated with one another in setting, like they don't live in the same household or if they were in the same club. So then these cases are not associated in another setting when we're looking at this.
So for Seattle King County Public Health, they provide us with wonderful resources for guidance, and this is one of the tools that they've provided us with. And the school nurse can work with you to determine when your student can attend school and what to do if they've tested positive, what to do if they've been in contact with anyone.
And this guide, and there's many others that have been provided by Seattle King County Public Health, that help us to look at, when can the child go to school? When can they not go to school? When can they return? And this is just a great guide of many others that we have received from Seattle King County Public Health. And now I want to hand it over to Val Allan.
Val, we cannot hear you.
How about now?
There you go.
There we go, sorry. Thank you. So I'll start again. So I wanted to review briefly the social emotional supports for the students at Highline. Prior to coming back, the emotional concerns that staff have had regarding students have been forefront in their minds, knowing the impact on distance learning, being isolated, the uncertainty of things that are going on.
And so teachers are working together to provide the most predictable and safe learning environments possible, creating routines that they can depend upon, including morning meetings, circle time in the morning and in the afternoons, the advisory, the check-ins that happen weekly by trusted adults, so really kind of trying to maintain a pulse of what's happening with students and also providing lessons around social emotional learning. Next slide.
In addition, there's also our school-based supports where the social workers, school counselors are working together, and that could look like a home visit from a distance. That could be providing basic needs when needed, helping support the community efforts regarding food, delivering hot spots, counselors to offer drop-in office hours. So if parents or students need to contact them remotely, they know where to go.
Also, counselors are dropping in to classrooms, advisories, so they're visually-- so students get to know who they are, especially if it's a new school to the students. And also, when either a parent has requested or there's an agreement or a referral to a mental health agency or one of our strong community-based partnerships. And there are also-- there's resources on the district website, as well as the school website for families as they are kind of trying to sort out how to best support their students.
OK, and I don't know if-- I think this is a question and answer time. It is.
Thank you so much, Val and Elaine, for being here. Kisa Hendrickson, who is on our team, it's her daughter's birthday this evening, and we believe in health and family first. So she is putting her family first tonight. So I want to thank Elaine and Val for being here.
I just want to provide some clarifying questions, and then I will turn to Catherine Carbone Rogers to speak to some of the trends that she's been seeing. But first of all, just some clarification. Yes, we will be in full distance learning with a few exceptions for students with special needs through the end of the first semester, which is January 28. We cannot give an official start date yet, because too much can happen between now and the end of January. And so as we get closer, we will certainly be providing you with updates as to when we will begin coming back in a hybrid. And yes, when we do come back, it will be in a hybrid, and it will begin with elementary.
I will just say that right now, the guidance that we are getting from public health and some districts in our region, given their COVID activity rates, have been able to come back in hybrid. Public health is only advising bringing students back in hybrid in elementary. They are not suggesting that we bring middle and high school students back, even in a hybrid right now. So that is just a question that we will just have to continue to monitor as it gets closer. And obviously, we will keep everyone updated as we learn more.
Secondly, I just wanted-- I just saw in the Q&A that some frustration with some of the answers that we're giving. It's to talk to the teacher or the principal. We will provide-- we're providing as much support as we can to our teachers and principals. However, sometimes if it's a question specifically about your child's class or concerns you may have with knowing what your child's assignments are or their progress, that is a question that only your child's teacher or principal can really help with. So it's not that we're deflecting and trying to add more to the plates of our teachers, principals, and para educators who are working so hard. It's just that we simply can't answer those questions.
With that, Catherine, I will turn it to you.
So there are a couple of questions for Elaine. One is, what is considered an outbreak? You're talking about an outbreak. Can you define that? Are you talking about just one positive case in a school when we're talking about a school closure, in other words?
Oh, OK. So when we think of an outbreak, as in the-- are you talking about in a classroom? That's when they were talking about in the classroom. It depends on what is determined by Seattle King County Public Health for their guidance for the number of cases in one classroom within a 14-day period, and usually that is two cases in the classroom. So that's considered an outbreak in the classroom.
And then when they look at the percentage for the school, they're looking at the percentage of-- if there was two or more classrooms within a school with 10 or fewer classrooms, so if there's only like 10 or fewer classrooms in the school, and you have two or more classes are dismissed because you had two people in each of those classes that had tested positive within 14 days, that would be considered an outbreak in the school. Or if you had a school that had 10% of-- had classroom-- had greater than 10 classrooms in the school, where those classrooms had to be dismissed because they had two persons in the classroom that had tested positive within that 14-day period.
Thank you, Elaine. I've got another one for you while you're on the line here. There's a question about vaccines being available at schools, or where would vaccines be available? I'm not sure if they're talking about just general vaccines.
Yeah, I think they're talking-- there's been a significant dip in childhood vaccines, so measles, those sorts of things. Elaine, I believe we're partnering to put on some vaccination clinics.
Right, so working with Public Health in regards to vaccination clinics that are being provided in the community, and then also, in some of our sites, our partnering sites so that kids are being immunized. And so that information is usually communicated in the family updates as well and information that goes out to the school, because we really do want our children to be immunized.
There is a question about SeeSaw, Susanne, and whether we will be sticking with it through the whole year. Can you take that one?
Certainly. Thank you, Catherine. And I appreciate the feedback. We are getting feedback from throughout the district, and some of it very positive and some of it not as positive. But I think at this point, what we're doing is we're just continuing to make sure we're getting input.
We have a survey that will be coming out, actually, very soon to our students and our staff and our families around their experience in distance learning, so we can continue to learn from it. And some of the suggestions that came in about, can there be another way of submitting work, I'm certainly happy to start looking into to see if we need to supplement. So thank you.
There are a couple of questions about the athletic seasons. Scott, can you answer those? Of course, they're canceled, or when they might be starting back up.
Yeah, so I just choked on my water here, so I'll try and get this out. But first, I would start by just saying we are working closely with the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association and our two leagues, KingCo and NPSL, to make sure that we are making decisions united with the districts that we compete with in league play so that we don't create any district or school that has an advantage or disadvantage in the athletic competitions.
For just scratching the surface on schedules, middle schools, season 1 and 2 are canceled, and season 3, we're still waiting on guidance from Department of Health and WIA to determine what's going to happen, what the fate is for season 3 at middle school. High schools got all four seasons shortened, and season 1, so the fall sports season, was moved to spring. Tentative start date for season 2 is December 28th, and then practices for season 2, 3, and 4 are likely to be scheduled with extra days, including some Saturdays to get kids up to competition level at a quicker pace.
Hopefully, that answers the-- scratches the surface, anyway, on the athletic questions.
There were a few questions that came in through the thought exchange that we held last week. And the top one was really more about a comment. Susan, maybe you can address this, just about distance learning not being sustainable for parents who are juggling work and family. And so maybe you could just respond to that.
Yes, I know. It is incredibly hard, we know, on so many families. Unfortunately, there-- we are just limited in what we can do to provide relief. We do have childcare at some of our schools that is available. And Catherine, I believe there's information about that on our Return to Learn and on the website. So child care is available.
As I said, we are looking at the possibility of allowing some small groups of students-- I'm not talking about our students with special needs who will be coming in for services. I'm talking about perhaps opening our schools up for small groups of students to be supervised, which could provide some relief. But I wish that I could do more. We all do. We know that this is incredibly hard on our families.
We are making sure that our teachers and our para educators and our principals are connecting with families and students and providing as much flexibility and predictability and support as possible. And I know that this will ring hollow, and I wish there were more that I could say to be reassuring. But we all just have to be forgiving of ourselves and one another right now.
Everything we're doing is imperfect. This is not a situation that any of us would choose to be in, but it is our reality right now. And we are doing the best we can, while keeping our students, staff, and families safe. And that's our reality.
There was also a question on the thought exchange about how parents can know grade level expectations for their students so that they can partner with the teacher and with the student, and make sure that they can learn the things that they're supposed to get at each grade level. So I do want to let you know, we have started building family learning guides, and we have them made now for kindergarten, third grade, sixth grade, and ninth grade. And they're posted on our website. If you search in the search box for family learning guides, you'll find them.
We do have other grades in the works, but they're not published yet. And I would say, please work with your teacher to learn what the grade level expectations are for your child's grade level, if you are not in one of those four grades that has a published guide at this time.
Catherine, I just want to add, too, I want to respond to Manny's comment around sometimes for their second grader, it's overwhelming. You know, all of us, our teachers, our staff, all of us recognize the incredible stress that everyone is under. If your child needs more flexibility in turning in assignments and the pace at which they are working, please just communicate with the teacher. I know that our teachers will make accommodations so that students who are feeling overwhelmed or can't keep up can work out with their teachers how to do the work in a way that isn't overwhelming them in the way that it is. And so please, please reach out.
The other question that Catherine and I want to respond to is around why the hybrid starts with elementary. What our health officials know about the virus right now is that young children don't seem to transmit the virus in the same way that adults and older children do. And because that is an area that they are still figuring out, the guidance we are receiving is that it is safer to bring elementary students back, and they want us to hold off on secondary students until we know more and/or the virus is at acceptably low levels.
There is a question about middle and high school and when they might return, Susan. Would you like to address that? I know we talked about it earlier, but this might have been somebody who [INAUDIBLE].
Yeah, sure. So when we come back in hybrid at the end of January-- I'm sorry, early February. It's the end of January our semester ends. We will begin with elementary and phase that in, and then move on to secondary as public health advises us it is safe to do.
As I said earlier, even those districts right now in our region that have COVID activity rates that are low enough that allows them to bring elementary students back in hybrid, they are not bringing back secondary and-- I'm sorry-- middle and high school students, because that is not guidance that we've gotten from public health yet.
Susanne, do you want to talk about-- I know I sort of spoke to it in general, but there's another question about the so much homework and overload. And can you just speak to how families can get support in making sure that the workload is manageable for their child?
Yeah, I think you really named it. You know, what we do is we give our schools and our school leaders and our teachers guidance about what that amount to be-- we have what we call frameworks that kind of gives the scope and sequence, if you will, of learning. However, every classroom has a different makeup, and every student has a different need. And I think what's important is that students are engaging as much as they can in the Zoom or synchronous learning, but then connecting with the teacher on those times where they're just not able to do the asynchronous.
Most of our teachers have time in their schedule to do small groups. Now I don't want to oversell that, that students are going to get one on one tutoring. But they can get some small group support. We've built that into the schedule to try and provide as much support for kids and families as possible.
Yeah. Well, no, let's just acknowledge some days are just hard. We're all having tough days now and again. And you know, there may be a day where your student just says, I can't. Tomorrow's another day. So again, grace and forgiveness of ourselves and one another, knowing that everyone is experiencing the stress and the strain of our current environment in different ways.
Susanne, there were a few questions, both in the Q&A tonight and on thought exchange, about Zoom sessions being recorded. The question was, can Zoom sessions not be recorded due to privacy? You want to talk about how teachers are supposed to handle new instruction?
Yeah. So we've been providing our teachers with tools, and again, we're still learning, but they're getting pretty good at it, in making sure that any new learning, there's a way for students and families to access it asynchronously at their own time when they can. So that could include hitting Record on Zoom, and if there's privacy questions-- and sometimes there is-- we ask the teacher to put it on speaker view, which would be only their face being shown. They can also ask students to turn off their cameras.
Teachers are finding lots of strategies to make sure that all students and families feel safe and comfortable. And of course, teachers are going to let students know if they're going to be recorded. There's also a tool that we're using with teachers called Screencastify, which a teacher can record new information even before school starts, although we encourage them to do it during the moment so that they're not overloading themselves with lots of new work. And then this can be uploaded into Google Classroom, can be uploaded into SeeSaw, so families can access it.
In addition, though, not everything has to be a video of the teacher. We do believe kids actually pay attention when their teachers do the video. It's funny how interesting it is when your teacher flubs or makes a mistake, or you can watch it more than once. But teachers are also finding really and they're sharing with each other videos that help better on different educational sites, and then also just other textual information. Kids don't have to watch a screen the whole time to do their asynchronous learning.
Thank you, Susanne. I wanted to speak-- there was a question around locations of meals. So this is really, really important. I am a broken record on this. There is so much that is out of our control, so much that we would like to do and cannot do as a system. The one thing that is in our control is to feed our children. And we will. There is no reason, given the fact that we have flexibility from federal government, that anyone under 18 is entitled to get meals every single day and seven days a week.
They can get those meals at their school site, at 70, I believe, Scott-- 7-0. Our bus drivers are going to 70 different locations across the district to deliver meals. Additionally, families can sign up to pick up a box of meals for the full week, if that's easier than showing up every day. Scott, do you want to jump in?
So I think you covered most of that. Everyone should know that every elementary school in the district is a pickup site for daily meals, so if you're not certain where the closest bus stop is, you can go to your neighborhood elementary school and pick up meals there. There's a sign up button right on the website. Just as soon as you open our website, you'll see Click to Order there, and you can also go into the Nutrition Service page and order from that point as well.
If you're giving a full week, it's great to order, because then you can say, this is family Jones, and we have seven kids, and so you're going to get two meals a day for seven days a week for seven kids. It'll be there and ready to go when you pull into the school.
Thank you, Scott. And I want to be clear. You do not-- families can come. You don't have to have your children with you. And this is for anyone under 18. You don't have to show any kind of identification. You show up and say, I need x number of meals. You'll get breakfast and lunch for those children. And this applies to everybody. And I want to emphasize this. Food is a basic need, and we are at a moment in time where there are those in our community who are truly suffering and who are, perhaps, not accustomed and thinking, maybe I shouldn't go get meals, because somebody else needs it more.
This is-- our nutrition services team is doing wonderful work to make sure that we can provide food to anyone under 18 in our community who needs it. So please, please, please, spread the word. We know that a fed child is a more ready to learn child, and so it's important that we spread the word about meal access. All the information is on the website, and I believe, Kyle, the next slide, do we have contact information?
Let me just clarify, it's 18 and under, so it's not under 18, but they can actually be 18 years old. They still qualify--
--for the meals.
Words matter. Thank you, Scott. I appreciate that. So we wanted to just share, as we wrap up, since-- yes, and we've still got about 10 minutes, so please keep the questions coming. Catherine, I'll turn it back to you for one more. But I will just-- if you have questions or concerns, we do have a process, so obviously, contacting your teacher is step one, if it's something about your student's instruction, learning, what have you.
If you can't get the answer or it's not resolved, please contact your principal. And if then it's like, no, I still can't get the answer that I need, please contact our ombudsman, Isuzu, who-- and her contact information is listed here. And you can email her or call her, and she will work with you and the school to get the information that you need. So please use this process.
Again, we don't want to add to the stress and strain that people are already under. Catherine, anything else that you want to--
I want to note that there's some feedback about wanting more PE sections in between Zoom classes. So thank you for that feedback, and then there are a couple of questions about the timeline of when we are going to be going back to school.
Yeah, as I said, we don't know. The one thing we do know is, with the exception of some of our students with special needs, we will not be returning for in-person hybrid instruction before the second semester. Our semester ends January 28th. Returning in hybrid will happen some time after that. I can't give you a date at this point, because, again, it will be driven by what's happening with the virus and the guidance that we get from public health.
And yes, I see a question here about maintaining six-foot distancing. That is why we would come back in a hybrid. We can't have all students in our schools every day together. We can't maintain the six-foot distancing. That's why we would have half of the students in certain days of the week and the other half in the rest of the week, the other two days of the week. So we will be sure to maintain mask-wearing and the physical distancing, and the six-foot distancing is why the hybrid is necessary.
And we will communicate with you as we learn more. And as soon as we know what the timeline is for starting school, we will communicate that out. But right now, we just can't say.
Susanne, there's a question about dual language and in hybrid, if students will switch classrooms as they had in the past.
I know that there is definitely a full plan and schedule for dual language. You know, Bernard, you are on here. I wonder if you might answer that question for me.
Sure. Yeah, I can address that. So with our dual language programs at the elementary level, the plans that are in place would be that students would stay in one classroom, so they would be interacting with one space. However, the teachers would transition between the classrooms. So the students would continue to engage in learning in both languages, but students would stay in one space.
There's a question about timing for flu shots, and Lita, do you have any dates? We'll certainly communicate clinics out in our family updates, but Lita, if you know of any dates, perhaps you could share those now. Or Elaine? OK, I'll--
Oh, I was going to say, I don't know the specific dates, but the pharmacies are offering them now, and the doctor's offices. They're being offered now, and you don't have to have an appointment at the pharmacies. And then anytime that we find out about clinics, that we would communicate that as well.
Yes, we will keep putting those out in our family updates that come usually once or multiple times a week, depending on what there is to share. Scott, there's a question about what happens if someone does not wear a mask in class. I'm not sure if that's your answer or if somebody else wants to take that one.
I'm happy to take it, and then Susanne, if she wants to add to it, she is welcome to. The first thing will be to educate and change the outcome of the situation. So work with the student. Figure out why it's not working, what the issue is. Maybe they need a clean mask. Maybe it's a different type of mask, which we'll be happy to support getting to that.
And then I think if we still can't get to the right answer, we need to make sure it's not a medical issue, where we have to address it in a unique way with people around maybe switching over what they're using or providing a clear shield that they can wear. There are some other options there to look at that aren't as good as having a mask on, but meet the expectations of the guidelines we've been given.
I don't know if Susanne wants to address that in any more depth.
No, I think the only thing I would add, Scott, is, as always, we would work with the family and come up with a plan that works for the student and the safety of the other students. I think what's important for all to hear is that we are going to make sure that the rest of the students and our staff are as safe as can be.
Catherine, anything else, or should we move to wrap up?
There's just one final question about student to teacher ratio on Zoom. "My child has 18 other students in kindergarten."
That can-- that does happen. Hopefully, that is not happening all day long that there may be sometimes when there is the entire class, and actually, our kindergarten classes are about 19 to 1. So that's about normal. But there's also opportunities for small groups, where there's fewer students. Yeah.
And that looks like it, so we should wrap.
So I want to thank everyone who joined us this evening. Thank you for taking the time. I want to thank our staff here who provided the information we have. Again, we know that these are challenging times, and we appreciate your being here. We appreciate your questions and your feedback. Please continue to provide us with that, and we will continue to communicate what we know as we know it.
But just know that keeping our students and staff and families safe and supported is our number one priority, and distance learning isn't ideal, but we're going to get better at it each day. And so I want to thank everyone who's stepping up and doing things differently. We're all doing things differently. And again, grace and forgiveness. That's the order of the day. So many thanks to all of you for joining us. Please stay safe, strong, and healthy. Good night.