Fall 2020 planning is underway

color-draw-colored-pencils-mirroring-37539Planning is underway to address the question on many people’s minds: What will fall 2020 look like in our schools?

The Olympia School Board will hold a work session on Monday, June 15, 2020 to discuss work underway. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Zoom, and the community is welcome to attend the online session. The Zoom link and other details about how to connect to this meeting will be shared on the district website closer to the meeting.

Superintendent Patrick Murphy shared some of the ongoing planning efforts in the May issue of the district’s Spotlight on Success newsletter. In that message, the superintendent noted that while we can’t say definitively how the structure will look, as there are still too many unknowns, we can say that it almost assuredly won’t be business as usual. 

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has put together a task force to talk about how schools might operate this fall. That group, which includes several OSD employees, has looked at a continuum of possibilities, including a continuation of the distance learning model, an on-campus learning model with physical distancing protocols in place that warrant altered schedules, or perhaps a combination of the two. Time will tell as state leaders and health officials continue to track COVID-19 cases locally and statewide, and determine the pace at which sites can reopen. 

In the meantime, Olympia has formed two planning teams to begin mapping out needs for various scenarios this fall. One of the groups is addressing academic needs, and the other is looking at how we could safely operate school inside our physical buildings, even if only for a limited number of staff and/or students. These same groups are also planning ways to safely gather and distribute materials going into the summer. Some students and parents are helping educators with this planning work, and we will share ways the entire community can be engaged as we move forward. As always, we will continue to follow guidance from the governor, health departments and education officials.