Plenty of work remains, but the Enumclaw School District is gearing up for the morning of Monday, May 3, when students will return to their classrooms on a full-time basis – or something very close to it.
Those in kindergarten through fifth grade will find themselves in a situation as close to “normal” as they have experienced in more than a year. They are slated for in-school learning five days a week, although students enrolled in the district’s ECEAP program will be on a Monday-through-Thursday schedule.
Students at the secondary level – sixth-graders through high school seniors – will attend in-school classes Monday through Thursday, with Fridays dedicated to remote learning.
Students in the Enumclaw district have been getting their education through a hybrid model that calls for two days on campus, two days in an at-home setting and a Friday geared to remote learning that also allows teachers time to focus on students needing specialized help.
The news of the return-to-school plan was announced in a April 6 letter from Superintendent Shawn Carey, delivered by email to students’ homes.
Carey wrote that the decision was made following a gathering of the school board the previous Friday and after district administration held conversations with district stakeholders.
As part of his email, Carey said “current research and the evidence from schools across the country” shows that school can open successfully if proper precautions are followed. Such steps include masking, social distancing, increased hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, COVID testing, contact tracing, and increased vaccination, he added.
“We believe there is great value in having students in their classrooms with their teachers, being in the buildings with our staff, and this is what is best for kids,” Carey said.
While taking steps to get students back into classrooms, however, the district will not ignore the wishes of parents who are not comfortable sending their children to busy school buildings. About 24 percent of secondary students are currently in a 100 percent remote situation, according to Jessica McCartney, the district’s public information officer.
Accommodations will be made to keep those students in that stay-at-home model, she added.
After everything changes on May 3, students will have a seven-week countdown to the end of the school year. The final day of class is set for June 21.