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WSD Returning to School in a Hybrid Model
Mark Pickel
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Beginning on Monday, October 5th, Waitsburg School District will be shifting from distance learning to a hybrid model.  We will be returning to campus for in-person learning!!

This decision was made as a result of a careful review of the current data for our county, community and in collaboration with the Walla Walla County Health Department, school board, and teachers. We were originally planning on a return at the end of the first quarter, but the numbers supported a faster timeline for return. It was an unexpected surprise! We are very excited to have students back on our campus.

Schools were made to have students in them. We miss the buzz of activity in the classrooms and the sound of learning. Our students need to be back at school as soon as safely possible.

Here is what we have identified currently;

1.   We are working on the details that this plan will require. We know that there will be lots of questions.  Please reach out us.  Share your concerns as well as your excitement about having students back in the building. Offer suggestions. Identify your needs. 

2.  We will be working on an AA/BB schedule.  We will split our student body into two groups; group A and group B.  Group A will attend on site on Monday and Tuesday (full day) and group B will attend on site Thursday and Friday (full day).  Wednesdays will be for cleaning the building, buses and classrooms and for prep and connection with distance learners, as well as, targeted assistance for students in building.  Students will be learning on site for 2 days a week, and off-site 3 days a week, but they will be attending school for 5 days, every week.  I know that this system is not ideal.  I would prefer that we could all come back right now, but our classrooms are just small enough and our class sizes are just large enough that we cannot meet the 6-foot physical distance requirement in most of our classrooms.

3. This plan will be implemented for grades preschool through 12. 

4. We will be working closely with the Walla Walla county health officials and follow all recommendations as well as guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Washington Department of Health (DOH), and the Governor’s office.

There is still much work to be done in preparation for the return of students and again, we know that you have many questions. We also know that we just started settling in to a remote learning routine that will be disrupted. We will continue to better ourselves with remote learning and refine what we have learned to deliver a high quality virtual education in our hybrid model.

I am very excited for the return of students to campus. I am also very nervous for the return of students to campus. However, knowing that students will once again be filling the halls with their voices gives me the boost I need to get our work done so that we will have as smooth of a transition as possible.