How Enumclaw families feel about sending kids back to school

Many, if not most, seem to feel comfortable sending students back into the classroom — with safety measures, of course.

Although school has started online, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, it’s clear that Enumclaw families feel very comfortable with eventually sending their children back to full-time in-person school.

In a survey sent out by the Enumclaw School District last March, parents were asked on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being “I am not comfortable sending my student(s) back to school in the fall” and 5 being “I am comfortable sending my student(s) back to school in the fall”. The vast plurality of parents, just over 54 percent, answered 5.

Another 15 percent answered with a 4, totaling the number of respondents more-or-less comfortable sending their kids back to school to just around 950, with a total of 1,349 parents responding.

Only a small handful of parents — 8.5 percent, or 115 respondents, answered with a 1, and another 6.7 percent (or 90 respondents) with a 2.

About 15 percent of respondents answered with a 3.

The confidence with which parents feel their child can safely attend school sometime in the fall also informed the district with how it could move forward with phasing in some in-person learning.

The same survey asked parents their preferences between three different education models.

Model No. 1 involved split or rotating schedules, which would see half of the students attend in-person classes twice a week (for example, Mondays and Wednesdays) and the other half another two days (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Another option would be to have half the student population attend in-person learning for one week while the other half does online learning, and then switching the next week.

Middle and high school students would take less classes with longer class times, meaning that by the end of the year, they should be able to complete the same number of classes they would during a regular school year.

Model No. 2 involved phasing in in-person schooling by groups. One example is using all school buildings to serve pre-kindergarten through fifth grade while middle and high school students continue online learning until physical distancing regulations are lifted. Other options included phasing in in-person schooling by groups of grades (starting with preK through third grade first, grades 4 and 5 second, etc., until all grades are back in school).

A third option was to phase students into buildings by risk, starting with elementary school students, but then focusing on those with learning disabilities, low-income students or students experiencing homelessness, English learners, students of color, and others.

Model No. 3 is to continue distance learning as-is, though improved over the spring rush when schools first closed.

Parents were asked to rank these models by their first, second, and third choices; likely to no one’s surprise, the most popular first choice, with nearly 1,000 votes, was Model No. 1.

However, most parents also felt Model No. 2 was a good second choice, with just about 750 votes.

It’s clear most parents are uninterested with continuing with only distance learning, as just about 900 parents ranked Model No. 3 as their third choice.

NEED FOR CHILDCARE

As previously reported by the Courier-Herald, the Enumclaw School District has said it has received information that many Plateau families are in need of childcare, though results from that survey were not yet available.

Unlike the survey regarding education models and comfortability about sending children to school, only 37 parents responded to the survey about whether childcare is needing during distance learning.

Of those 37 parents, roughly 70 percent said childcare was needed, and the other 30 percent said it was not.

It’s likely not a coincidence that the same number of parents that said they needed childcare also answered that at least one parent in the household was a first responder or healthcare worker.


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