Washington schools expected to reopen this fall, if possible

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — Washington’s schools leader said he expects school districts to reopen buildings and return to in-person learning this fall as long as public health guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic allow it.

Chris Reykdal, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, and a work group of over 120 educators, parents, students and community organizations released a 47-page document with new guidance that shows what face-to-face instruction could look like.

How and whether schools reopen depends, at least in part, on what phase their county is in as part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, The Seattle Times reported. But education officials said schools should plan to resume class in-person.

The guidance leaves most decisions up to school districts.

Districts that can’t open right away, or bring all students back because of public health concerns, are encouraged to use a combination of distance learning and staggered scheduling.

The education department is asking districts to make contingency plans that would allow them to move quickly from in-person instruction to remote learning should cases of the virus surge.

Districts should add days to their school calendar in case of emergency short-term building closures, officials said as an example.

Districts should also make plans to conduct learning remotely if schools are forced to close again for an extended period, officials wrote.

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