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Friday, September 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Education

‘Great for working parents’: Spokane district to offer distance learning at school sites

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 11, 2020

Chase Middle School student Leah Platt cleans out her locker in the seventh-grade hallway with her mother, Nia Platt, left, on June 11  (DAN PELLE)
Chase Middle School student Leah Platt cleans out her locker in the seventh-grade hallway with her mother, Nia Platt, left, on June 11 (DAN PELLE)

In a move that is sure to attract heavy interest from working families, Spokane Public Schools will offer distance learning at school buildings for every elementary student who wants it.

Part of the district’s back-to-school package, SPS Day Camp will be offered for all families and staff at low cost at as many sites as needed.

Registration will begin next week at spokaneschools.org/express.

Asked if the district is prepared for a barrage of applications, associate superintendent Mark Anderson said he would welcome it.

“That would be great for working parents for kids to have some assistance,” Anderson said.

Details already have been worked out.

Each site can accommodated up to 40 students, who will be supervised by either Express program employees or school staff. The number of sites will be driven by demand.

“We could end up having SPS Day Camp at all of our elementary schools,” Anderson said.

Employing the same model used during the school closings last spring, staffers will screen each child and enforce mask-wearing and social distancing, a practice which resulted in no infections.

“Zero,” Mark Anderson reiterated.

Children also will be served meals at SPS Day Camp.

According to a district statement, “students will receive structure and routines that assist them in engaging with their teachers in real-time distance learning.”

If a day camp holds children from different schools, they would be placed in separate classrooms, as the district did last spring for children of first responders and essential medical personnel.

“That worked very well,” said Anderson, who added that the Express staff is “well-trained and can assist kids if they have questions.”

Anderson expects to have four staffers at each site.

The district will offer two other options: SPS Learning Centers, which will be open for two to three hours at district sites for students in grades K-8; and what the district calls “community-based options” at sites to be determined.

The district said the learning centers will “offer a supervised location to provide structure, routine and assistance for distance learning with teachers.” Sites will be located throughout district and community spaces to enhance social distancing and accommodate a set number of students at any specific block of time.

Details for the community-based options are still being finalized, said Anderson, who hopes that community centers and other large facilities will be available.

The district will continue to offer Express day care for school-age children, before and after school, 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m.

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