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We are encouraged by the guidance issued this week by Governor Inslee. This update provides guidance on the circumstances under which school districts might return students to in-person learning, based on COVID-19 rates within local communities. It also prioritizes a return to in-person learning for the youngest students and those with special needs. It replaces the “decision tree” model previously in use.
While the Department of Health's guidance is not binding, it does prioritize reopening our schools and returning students to in-person instruction. Prior to the change in state guidance, the District had already prioritized K-3 students returning to in-person hybrid learning, and we will continue to make plans to do so.
Please know that these updates have been brought to the Issaquah Education Association, and the implications are being discussed in our ongoing bargaining. Such implications may include students returning early in the new year while also continuing to offer a remote option through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Our School Board is currently in the process of scheduling an Executive Session for a bargaining update the first week of January to discuss recent updates to this work.
The decision to bring students back to in-person learning has many layered factors, including guidance from Governor Inslee, OSPI and Public Health – Seattle & King County; community feedback; and the safety of our educators and our students, above all.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we continue to pivot in a difficult time.
Have a wonderful winter break.