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School doors remain shut, but Ellensburg School District students can expect educational outreach in the coming days and weeks.

On March 23, the state released guidance through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), that requires schools statewide to have some sort of remote instruction by Monday.

ESD Board President Tosha Woods said she is confident that district administrators, staff and educators will meet the follow the guidance provided by OSPI, as well as serve the students. However, she was unsure of a date when the district would able to implement a remote instruction program.

During a special meeting session held online Thursday, the district announced its plan to use Monday and Tuesday as an opportunity for teachers and administrators to meet and come up with a plan for remote education. This will be the first time that teachers and administrators have met in about two weeks, since the initial announcement was made that schools would be shutting down.

“Our administrators and our teacher have not been able to formally meet because last week was spring break and the week before was the snow days (the district classified the first week of the shutdown due to COVID-19 as snow days),” Woods said. “Our district values our teachers and respects their time.”

During the special meeting, ESD superintendent Jinger Haberer said the district wanted to honor their teachers, so they didn’t schedule any meetings during their spring break, March 23-27. She said district leaders and administrative leaders have been meeting frequently during this time. She has also met with school principals virtually Wednesday and Thursday March 25 and 26.

WAY TO ENGAGE

OSPI guidelines state schools should provide weekly lesson plans for students. This includes taking steps to ensure that all students have a way to engage. During the special meeting, Haberer said parents can expect to start receiving these weekly updates after Wednesday, April 1.

Guidelines also state districts should keep in contact with families. This is something ESD has done over the program Blackboard, as well as texts.

Haberer said if families have not been hearing from her or the district through Blackboard, that those families should contact the district. This is, and will continue to be, the primary form of communication between the district and families.

In regard to students who need internet, Haberer said that IT Director Mike Welch is creating a map to show where exactly there is internet within the school district. This information will be used to show the district where they should set up “hot spots.”

Starting on Wednesday, parents will be able to contact their school’s principal and set up a time for their student to receive a Chromebook, if they do not have one already. This will be used as the main form of education communication while schools are closed.

The guidelines provided by OSPI give leeway to districts to come up with a form of remote education themselves, as long as it begins Monday. Schools can remotely teach their students via online learning, printed packets, phone contact, email or a combination of some/all methods.

Principals will bring their teachers together on Monday and Tuesday to discuss what will be needed so all teachers will be able to use a form of online communication with their students and other staff.

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