SVSD survey: large majority want kids back in classrooms; state safety mandates make return to normal almost impossible

A recent Snoqualmie Valley School District ‘ThoughtExchange” survey regarding reopening schools in the fall – in which 82% of respondents (2,349) were SVSD parents – showed a large majority (88%) are somewhat (37%) to completely (51%) comfortable sending kids back to the classroom. 11% said they were not comfortable at all.

[See our earlier story on SVSD’s Fall Reopening Plan]

Going back to pre-COVID normal this fall and giving the majority of survey respondents what they want – 100% of the time – may not be possible, though.

There are roadblocks making 100% in-person learning for all students nearly impossible. The two biggest issues are mandates from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for 6 feet of social distancing and face coverings (including shields).

Why are these mandates roadblocks? Because the average SVSD classroom isn’t large enough for that social distance requirement while still accommodating most class sizes. The growing district also has limited extra classrooms.

Superintendent Manahan said even if King County is in phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, DOH officials stated 6 feet of distance and face coverings are still mandated in schools – including if the district invested in plexiglass partitions, a safety protocol allowed at some businesses when social distance cannot be maintained while masks are worn.

[See OSPI’s Q&A for Reopening Schools HERE.]

This is what administrators and school board members are currently addressing as they work to formulate the district’s fall reopening plan. And during a June 18th meeting, board members seemed to realize that unless state mandates change, a hybrid instruction model may be the closest return to normal they can achieve for SVSD families.

Potential hybrid models could split classes into smaller groups, with those groups rotating coming to the classroom part-time and remote learning the rest of the time. Another option could see ‘vulnerable’ students at school full-time, while others do remote learning.

As for a potential hybrid instruction model, a majority of SVSD ThoughtExchange respondents (57%) said if hybrid was the only choice, they preferred a daily rotation (some days on site and some days virtual learning) vs. 33% who preferred a weekly rotation.

When asked if they would prefer an updated, full-time distance learning model, 57% of respondents said no; 26% said they were unsure and 16% said yes.

Respondents on either side of the online/in-person school fence found common ground on safety, wanting the district to ensure children and staff who are sick stay home. Some also suggested discontinuing awards for perfect attendance this year.

Regardless of what model SVSD uses this fall, Superintendent Rob Manahan said remote learning will improve. He said the district has made that a priority. And for families not comfortable going back to the classroom, it is expected there will be an option for full-time remote learning. Daily health screenings for staff and students are also required if an in-person learning option is chosen.

The district will continue working on its reopening plan over the next two weeks, until the preliminary plan is announced around July 6th. They have scheduled an extra school board meeting and there are also small groups of staff members working on different plan aspects.

The school board is required to pass a resolution with its fall reopening plan no later than August 15th – two weeks prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year.

SVSD elementary classroom. Photo: SVSD Facebook

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  • The government does not have the authority to regulate consensual personal behavior, such as how many people you can invite into your home, how far away you may or may not stand from someone, or whether or not you must cover your face anywhere. These orders have about as much validity as saying it’s a crime to not wear a Seahawks jersey on Fridays.

    I have never been so disappointed in the people of this country than now, seeing how eager they are to give away their rights and comply with malicious tyranny. My grandfather didn’t land on Utah Beach on D-Day to fight for this. Those mindlessly complying should be ashamed of themselves.

    The last place we need “social distancing” is schools anyway. As we’ve learned this past month, COVID-19 is the wokest virus ever. As long as you stay on the left, it won’t hurt you, and there’s nothing further to the left than a public school in Washington.

  • I wanna go to Safeway with no pants! How about just walking around the Ridge, pantsless, just mindin’ my own business, feeling the cool breeze? It’s my Constitutional right! See, right there in the Constitution! Gubmint can’t tell me what to do!

    Do the right thing. Protect yourself and others. Wear a seatbelt. Wear a mask.

    1. It is essential to wear a mask, unless you are protesting or mostly peaceful–in which case it doesn’t matter. It’s just science. Dana wrote an article about this a few weeks ago, in North Bend, on this very Web site.

    2. You are within your rights to not wear pants. You can wear as much or as little as you want provided your genitalia is covered. You see, everyone has stuff down there, thus public decency laws require concealment. If you’re an anatomically impossible Ken doll with no genitals, rectum, or buttocks, and are just a smooth nebulous blob, you would probably be just fine.

      Not everyone has COVID, and even those with it who are not presenting symptoms are not spreading it, as even WHO admitted a while back. Even in the worst case scenario of an asymptomatic carrier picking her nose and touching a doorknob, CDC already admitted surface transmission was poor. And protect myself and others from what? The potential to further build our immune systems via exposure to a virus that is a asymptomatic in 33% of cases and has a 0.2% death rate, which is heavily weighted on the elderly anyway? The same elderly who would die from a seasonal flu or a minor infection?

      You’re free to hide in your basement until the media tells you this boogie-virus is gone. I figure that will be about a week after the election. I’ll just keep on enjoying life.

  • Wise words James. Thank you. I fled Snoqualmie for liberty and sanity. On benefit will be the poor education that public schools provide now and the past 30 years will decrease. Look at the stupid logic of Matt B…

  • Steven and James are right, and obviously extremely intelligent. There aren’t many tools in the toolbox for covid, and the few that do exist aren’t perfect.
    By all means, because they’re not perfect let’s choose not to use them so as to allow cases to rise high enough to fill up ICU units like in Houston, so we can return to phase one again.
    I mean that makes the most sense here, right?
    Besides, a mask is such a major imposition, unlike a ventilator.

  • Mask up and protect your brain stem.

  • Living Snoqualmie