The Clarkston School Board passed a resolution Monday night on the district’s reopening plan this fall, but specifics detailing how the school year will look have not yet been finalized.
Superintendent Thaynan Knowlton said definitive plans will be released early next week so parents can begin planning for their kids’ return.
“I really want to emphasize that the plan is to start face-to-face and in-person,” Knowlton said.
School buildings in Clarkston are tentatively set to operate at a 50 percent capacity, so 6 feet of physical distance can be maintained to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Staggering the use of school buildings would allow for a blended approach to learning this fall.
The district is working to decide if students would attend school in morning and afternoon sessions or every other day.
Results of a survey sent out to parents last week show that 52 percent of parents with kids in kindergarten through sixth grade stated an a.m./p.m. schedule would work best for their individual circumstances, while 51 percent of parents with students in seventh through 12th grade stated they’d prefer their kids attend school every other day.
Now that parents have weighed in on their preferences, Knowlton said he’ll reach out to staff in the district to garner their feedback.
“We felt like we really needed to know what would be the most helpful for our parents, so then we could have an internal discussion to figure out how we can make it work,” Knowlton said. “It’s leaning in this direction” of an a.m./p.m. schedule for elementary students and every other day for secondary students.
The survey results showed that 85 percent of the 1,563 participants indicated they would send their kids to school if the district is allowed to open to a learning model that provides face-to-face instruction.
Many unknowns still remain as the pandemic continues.
Restrictions for counties in Phase 3 of Washington’s reopening plan currently limit gatherings to 10 people. That number would have to change prior to the start of the school year for the district to move forward with its tentative plan, Knowlton said.
The district is currently working through a checklist from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction that needs to be completed before schools can reopen.
Contingency plans and online options are in place for remote learning in case schools are unable to reopen this fall or if parents opt to keep their kids home.
The district will submit the checklist along with the resolution it approved Monday, and the district’s previously approved education transition plan for the 2020-21 school year, which includes three options for a return to school.
The documents need to be submitted two weeks prior to the start of the first day of school, which is on Aug. 26.
In other news:
The school board increased lunch prices to $3.25 for high school students, to $2.95 for middle school students and to $2.90 for elementary students. The price of a carton of milk increased from 35 cents to 50 cents.
The increases for meal prices are a result of a mandate from the United States Department of Agriculture.
The board approved a limited general obligation bond of up to $350,000 for the purchase of a school bus.
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