Spokane Public Schools to begin 2020-2021 school year with full-time distance learning

Spokane schools working to re-balance budget

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools announced Monday that students will begin the 2020-2021 school year with full-time distance learning.

The announcement comes after a recommendation from Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz, who strongly recommended remote learning, but also said the district should consider in-person learning for those who have special health or education needs that cannot be delivered through distance learning.

Previously, the district hoped to bring students into school buildings on an alternating schedule, but opted to begin the year fully remote due to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an email to parents, the SPS Safe School Reopening Task Force said the current plan has been revised signicantly from the experience students had in the spring and the district plans to do all it can to help students have the best distance learning experience possible through a new real-time learning structure.

“We recognize that direction to begin the year in a distance learning format has a significant impact on many of our students and families, and we are committed to partnering with community organizations to offer support,” the district said.

Real-time remote learning will include the following:

  • Real-time school day with teacher(s)
  • Identified school start and dismissal time
  • Specific times scheduled for each period/subject
  • Blend of live instruction, group work and independent activities
  • Specialist and elective exepriences included
  • Set times for intervention support and contacting teachers
  • Use of Microsoft Teams as the district-wide digital platform
  • Laptop check-out for all students
  • Limited in person instruction provided for small groups of students.

“We know this news will be met with mixed emotions. These are unprecedented times and we will make every effort to support all our students and families as we work together to have a safe and successful school year,” the district said.

SPS plans to bring students back to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so.

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