State school Superintendent Reykdal issues statement in response to online learning in the fall

‘Decisions are within the bounds of the reopening guidance that we provided in June’

Chris Reykdal

Chris Reykdal

Superintendent Chris Reykdal, of the Washington Office of Public Instruction, issued the following statement on Wednesday after several schools districts, including Kent, announced plans to take learning fully online in the fall:

“In early June, my office, in partnership with the state Department of Health (DOH) and the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), provided guidance for schools to safely reopen in the fall for in-person learning. Included within that guidance was a strict health and safety framework provided by DOH – the most stringent statewide framework we have seen in the nation.

Over the past few weeks, however, we have seen the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase in many of our communities, which has understandably caused concern among some of our educators, students, parents, and guardians about our ability to safely reopen schools this fall.

This week, several school districts in the Puget Sound region have announced they plan to return to school fully online this fall. I know a lot of factors went into these decisions, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the school board members, administrators, classroom educators, support staff, parents and families, and community partners who landed on these tough decisions after important community engagement. These decisions are decided at the local level and they are within the bounds of the reopening guidance that we provided in June.

Taking learning online presents challenges that districts will need to face. The methods of teaching and learning that were implemented across the state this spring will need to improve substantially. Every student and family needs to be better engaged and supported in student learning as well as the other supports that our schools provide.

We know that in-person instruction is the most effective model for supporting our students; however, the safety of our students and staff has always been our highest priority. For our districts who make the difficult choice to go online this fall, they will need to have plans in place to:

• Work with community partners to identify child care options for school-aged students whose families don’t have the option to stay home with a child each day;

• Address gaps in connectivity and technology access so each student has sufficient opportunity to continue their learning outside of the classroom;

• Continue providing school meals to the students who rely on them; and

• Utilize their local data to determine which of their students need additional intensive learning supports, and provide those supports remotely if possible or in-person when that is the only effective delivery method.

All school districts this year, including those who will provide their learning online, will need to have weekly schedules for each student, daily engagement or assigned work for each student, and requirements for daily attendance. In addition, all districts must meet the number of instructional days and hours required in state law, consistent with the State Board of Education’s rules on the definition of an instructional hour.

We knew in June that school this fall would be different than usual. We are likely to see many school districts decide to take most of their instruction and supports online, while many others will provide in-person learning within the health and safety guidelines. These decisions are made at the local level with local communities.

As a parent of two students in public school, I know the fall planning decisions are gut-wrenching, but each school district remains focused first and foremost on the safety of their students and staff. We all have a part in that by wearing our face coverings, frequently washing our hands, and maintaining physical distance from others.

The better we do together in reducing the number of cases and hospitalizations, the sooner we can return to more effective, in-person learning environments.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Sound Publishing archives
Cannabis DUI challenge rejected by state Supreme Court

Everett man argued the law must be tossed because legal limit for THC is not supported by science.

Tsr
No more stolen sisters: How WA is responding to missing and murdered Indigenous people

Across the state, 126 Indigenous people remain missing, with 31 having gone missing in King County.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
Judged by XII (Episode 2): Police officer’s history of violence | King County Local Dive

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

President Joe Biden. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Biden visits Seattle and Green River College during trip to Pacific Northwest

The president will stress infrastructure in Portland and Seattle while raising money for the Democratic Party.

The Sammamish Valley is home to a collection of farms, wineries and tasting rooms. File photo
The Sammamish Valley is home to a collection of farms, wineries and tasting rooms. File photo
King County continues to grapple with alcohol rules in rural areas

Much of the debate surrounds wineries, breweries and distilleries operating as retail businesses.

Teaser
How a Ukrainian and Russian couple escaped a war zone

“We will never forget that sound. Boom. Boom,” said Valeriia Horodnycha, who has been staying in Mercer Island.

Sunset at Mount Rainier. NPS
Mount Rainier park approves nine new lahar monitoring stations

The new monitors can give local communities up to 10 extra minutes to evacuate in case of a disaster.

Metro Creative Graphics Photo
Health board decides against COVID vaccine requirement for students

The state Board of Health wants to see more data for younger children.

Tulalip council members and tribal members watch as Governor Jay Inslee signs bill HB 1571 into law at the Tulalip Resort on Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Tulalip, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New alert system aims to bring home missing Indigenous people

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law creating the new system. Families of the missing and murdered say it’s a start.

File photo
Cannabis stakeholders want cash out of the equation amid rash of robberies

State regulators say action from Congress is required for cannabis industry to use credit cards.