New Guidance Provides Hopeful Outlook for Next School Year
Yesterday, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released guidance that lays a framework for schools to begin planning what their return to school in the fall looks like.
The guidance was developed in partnership with the state Department of Health (DOH); the Governor’s Office; the Department of Labor and Industries; and a broad stakeholder group of more than 120 educators, practitioners, parents, community-based organizations, legislators, and students.
The 2020–21 school year will likely look different from previous school years. Districts should prioritize providing face-to-face instruction as public health conditions allow, instituting physical distancing and other preventative practices to keep students and staff healthy.
When face-to-face instruction is not possible, districts can use the considerations listed in OSPI’s guidance to design appropriate local plans for meeting the needs of all students.
In addition, every school district should have a contingency plan in place for continuous remote learning should they need to close to preserve health and safety.
While face-to-face learning is the goal, the guidance includes three concepts for school districts to consider adapting and building from, should they be limited in face-to-face learning in the fall:
- Split or rotating schedules with distance learning,
- Phased-in opening with continuous learning, and
- Continuous learning 2.0, a more effective remote learning system.
Districts will receive additional guidance from OSPI in the weeks to come on topics such as special education, early learning transitions, higher education, family and community engagement, and career and technical education.
Districts are advised to complete an extensive review into grading policies, homework policies, disparate technology access, learning standards, mastery and competency-based learning models, multi-tiered systems of support, and other innovations.
OSPI’s guidance provides health and safety measures to reduce the risk for spread of COVID-19 so that students have access to the critical physical, mental, and social health benefits school provides.
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