Walla Walla Public Schools and the Walla Walla Valley Education Association, the union representing Walla Walla’s teachers, have reached an agreement to start phasing students into an a.m./p.m. hybrid schedule on Jan. 25.
Faces were bright at Davis Elementary School as children expressed excitement to be back on campus.
Before that happens, however, the district must come to a final agreement with the Walla Walla Valley Education Association, the union representing Walla Walla’s teachers.
Milton-Freewater Superintendent Aaron Duff said in his letter that the district could return to limited in-person instruction on Jan. 11, while hybrid schedule for all students could begin Feb. 16.
Teachers want to ensure a potential return to school for students and staff is safe and backed by good science, Walla Walla Valley Education Association President Keith Swanson said.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the current mandatory metrics for schools to reopen will be advisory and that “decisions to resume in-person instruction must be made locally, district by district, school by school.”
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, College Place Public Schools Superintendent Jim Fry recommended the district extend distance learning at least until Jan. 11.
The program has been going on since mid-November, and about 50 high school students are participating. Because more tutors are still available, its been opened up to middle school students as well.
Walla Walla area schools are not immune to a national tsunami of poor grades as students try to keep up with lessons remotely during the pandemic.
With new COVID-19 cases appearing to be on the decline, the district is looking to return to its Orange Stage, depending on case numbers after the holidays.
Chris Reykdal, Washington state schools chief, says the system in place now doesn't work for a lot of kids, but he has little power to change it. Not everyone agrees his hands are tied. And he has found ways to enact a few statewide changes.
Many families do not have homes setup with distance learning in mind. And sharing a dining room table is not an ideal solution.
Younger students remain in the district’s AA/BB hybrid schedule that sees half of the school’s students attend on Monday and Tuesday and the other half on Thursday and Friday.
Meanwhile, Walla Walla Community College, which does not have students living on campus, will remain in its current “Warrior Flex” model that has limited in-person instruction for select programs.