Kindergarten and first-grade students will return to school beginning Oct. 5
Kindergarten and first-grade school students are scheduled to return to Arlington schools beginning on Oct. 5.
The schools will be using the 'hybrid' model of school, where one half of the students will be on campus early in the week and the other half will be on campus later in the week.
The group not attending in-person instruction will still receive online instruction.
The model was worked on by staff, community members and parents.
"Over the summer we had a Re-Opening Arlington School committee," said Gary Sabol, director of communications for the school district.
"They worked on fleshing out the hybrid model of schooling as well as how 'distance learning 2.0' would work," he said.
Arlington students have mostly been learning from home during the first month of school.
"On Sept. 1 the vast majority of our students were doing distance learning," said Sabol.
A handful of "high needs" students were receiving in-person instruction, however those were very small groups of students to meet health guidelines from the Snohomish Health District.
The district is still following the lead of the Snohomish Health District, said Sabol.
"Because the numbers have been dropping for Snohomish County, Dr. Chris Spitters [Snohomish Health District Health Officer] said schools could start looking at bringing back some elementary school students," he said.
Sabol said the district wanted to start with its youngest kids, as they have the hardest time with online learning.
"For the younger grades in particular, it's critical that we have that face-to-face learning," he said.
"Middle and high school students are not quite as critical as they do better with the online learning," he said.
As the district brings back more grade levels, they'll likely continue to start with the youngest.
"We'll take two to three weeks to evaluate how this is going, and then we'll start looking at if the next grade levels can come back," said Sabol.
The exact grade bands that will be the next to return or when those students will return has not been decided, he said.
As students return, the district will likely keep the hybrid model until all students are back to school.
"That would be later in the year, if at all," said Sabol.
The district has a number of safety precautions prepared as elementary students return this October.
"We've been gearing up for this for a while," said Sabol.
"We're trying to be very methodical with how we bring students back," he said.
The district has a lot of safeguards in place.
"The groups are much smaller in the hybrid model," and there are screening applications that must be returned by the parents, as well as temperature checks which are applied at school.
"We've spread out the desks in the classrooms and they are separated by quite a distance," said Sabol.
More information about the Arlington School District's re-opening plan is available at asd.wednet.edu/for_families/reopening_arlington_schools.