BISD superintendent provides update on potential in-person instruction

District aims to have final plan in place by end of July

Shortly after the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction releasing its planning guide for reopening schools for in-class instruction this fall, Bainbridge Island School District Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen recently announced the district’s plans to develop two task forces to help with planning the next school year.

According to Bang-Knudsen, one task force will focus on the logistics of in-person learning, while the other addresses making online learning “more effective and robust.” Both task forces are comprised of district staff who will also incorporate input from parents and students. BISD hopes to have its framework developed for face-to-face learning by July 3 and also aims to have a final plan put together by the end of July.

With face-to-face learning being the goal by fall, the OSPI plan includes three concepts for school districts to consider adapting, should in-person learning not be available by the start of the school year, such as:

• Split or rotating schedules with distance learning;

• Phased-in opening with continuous learning; and

• Continuous learning 2.0, a more effective remote learning system

How each school district reopens for in-person learning will be decided in partnership with its students, staff, families and their local health district. While reopening schools are not tied to Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start Plan, districts in Phase 1 or Modified Phase 1 must receive approval to reopen from their local health authority. School districts that end up meeting in person during the fall will be required to follow DOH’s health and safety guidelines, such as social distancing, face coverings and personal protective equipment.

“Our greatest challenge for the fall lies in wanting our students in the classroom as much as possible, while also adhering to the science-backed best practices that limit the spread of COVID-19,” Bang-Knudsen said in a statement. “We will work closely with the Washington State Department of Health and Kitsap Public Health District to make sure our plans follow their guidelines. As always, safety is paramount.”

Additionally, strategies to provide specifically designed instruction for special needs kids are currently being reviewed by district staff. The planning will include allowing students to make progress on Individualized Education Program goals, evaluation needs and the rescheduling of any delayed meetings.

Through the BISD Continuous Learning model, special education teachers, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and paraeducators have been collaborating with families to design and implement plans for special education. For further inquiries, email BISD Special Services Executive Director Diane Leonetti at dleonetti@bisd303.org.

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