After months of review and planning, the College Place Public Schools Board of Directors approved a three-pronged "Return to School" plan on Tuesday night. Superintendent Jim Fry reviewed the results of planning and evaluating the ever-changing Walla Walla County COVID-19 conditions. Initially, the district believed a full reopen would be possible, but due the changes in local and state conditions and requirements, that plan had to be altered.
The Board approved three models for return: Full Return, Hybrid Return, and Full Remote Learning. In any of the three models, there will be a Full Remote "At-Home Learning" option for students who wish to remain offsite for their learning in the 2020-2021 school year.
The district utilized feedback and input from surveys, listening sessions, and committee work to create the plans for the return. Superintendent Fry acknowledged, "COVID-19 is unreasonable and it is unfair. This makes many of the decisions we are making and facing feel the same way; unreasonable and unfair." The leadership team of the district, through teamwork with the school associations, recommended that with the current conditions, College Place Public Schools should begin on a Hybrid Model with an AM/PM schedule if it is safe to do so.
The Hybrid AM/PM model would place the schools at roughly 50% capacity and allow for social distancing requirements to be met. Having face-to-face instruction on site was a priority for the relationships, structure, and accountability it creates across both modes of learning. The decrease in class sizes onsite will allow teachers to provide quality instruction to students albeit in a shortened span of time. CPPS will deploy one to one technology (Chromebooks) to all students in grades 2nd through 12th. Students in Kindergarten and 1st will have their learning provided through packets based on feedback from the spring closure.
The planning for the three-prongs allows for the district to move to a full remote or full face-to-face return if the conditions in the county change in a manner that make either of them necessary.
1. Full Return Model: Only an option if the state social distance requirements are removed.
2. Hybrid A/B Schedule--Students attend either morning or afternoon for approximately 2 hours 45 minutes. Students complete remote learning at the direction of the teacher during the other half of the day.
3. Full Remote Learning Model--Students do not return to buildings at all. Students complete remote learning at the direction of the teacher full time.
The District acknowledged that all of the three scenarios have their issues. But, in evaluating the current community conditions, how to open schools safely, and how to serve students in College Place to the fullest way possible, the Hybrid Model was the best option to begin the year. "No one wanted to see 100% of our kids here 100% of the time more than me. We really pushed and exhausted every avenue. It is just not possible given the current requirements and increases in the number of cases locally," said Superintendent Fry.
In order to ensure that parents/guardians of CPPS students get the important information they need in the next few weeks, it is critical that the district has the updated student information. Register at: https://www.cpps.org/o/District/page/enrollment-registration
A survey will go out so that parents/guardians will be able to give their preference for which time slot they would like to see children in their household attend. The district will work to accommodate those requests as much as possible.
More specific information will be available to students, parents and the community by the end of the week.