Governor Inslee orders all school buildings to close throughout the remainder of the 2019–20 school year; Distance Learning Program continues
In mid-March, Governor Inslee closed all public and private K–12 schools in our state through April 24. Today, he extended that directive and ordered all school buildings to close throughout the remainder of the 2019–20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is incredibly difficult to hear, but necessary to keep students, staff, and families safe,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “We are very well poised to continue our work and progress supporting students through our Distance Learning Program, as we have done from the onset of this global pandemic.”
Walla Walla Public Schools will implement additional supports and engagement, beyond what have been in place the past two weeks. Below is a summary of the enhancements to key programs and activities as a result of the extended school closure announcement.
Parent and Student Survey
It is critical to engage and gain additional feedback from students and families. The district has developed a survey for release next week to provide the opportunity for parents and students to let school officials know how the Distance Learning Program is working. This information will be used to help district educators hone its program for the remainder of the year.
District office administrators will meet with high school principals to begin discussing options around graduation exercises and ceremony possibilities. Students will also be involved in this planning.
Additional Online Learning Opportunities for Grades 3-5
The district will be announcing additional Chromebook and hot spot connectivity deployments, this time for elementary students in grades 3-5, in order to access supplementary, online learning opportunities. This distribution option will not modify the individualized learning packets for all elementary school students, but ensures all students have the ability to explore additional optional learning resources during the extended campus closure. Chromebook and Wi-Fi hot spot deployment will be communicated and available for check out April 20.
“Our core delivery model utilizing weekly, teacher-developed learning packets ensures equity, access, and individualized education for every student,” noted Smith. “In that same equity lens, we want to ensure that students and families who don’t have computers or internet at home have the same level of access to participate in optional supplementary learning experiences as their peers.”
Open Enrollment, Kindergarten Enrollment, 4-yr old Transitional KG Program, and Student Schedules
District officials are planning alternative methods to support spring and end-of year processes including open enrollment, kindergarten registration and dual program identification. Administrators are also working on processes to engage and develop next year’s student schedules in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year. Superintendent Smith says the district will communicate solutions for staff and parents in the coming weeks.
“I want to thank our staff for their efforts to support our students,” said Smith. “These are unprecedented times for our school district and we remain committed to continue finding ways to ensure our students are learning and their needs are met.”
Read a statement from OSPI Superintendent Chris Reykdal: