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Tuesday, September 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Education

SPS schools opening pushed back two weeks

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 12, 2020

JESSE TINSLEY/Spokesman-Review  (JESSE TINSLEY/Spokesman-Review)
JESSE TINSLEY/Spokesman-Review (JESSE TINSLEY/Spokesman-Review)

Citing the need to better prepare teachers and staff for distance learning, Spokane Public Schools announced Wednesday afternoon that the school year will be pushed back by two weeks.

The school board approved the proposal Wednesday night as part of its Safe School Reopening Plan.

Originally, the school year was to begin Sept. 3, with kindergartners starting six days later.

However, in a letter to staff, the district said it hoped to “support high levels of preparedness” by adding training time to the beginning of the school year, which now will commence on Sept. 14 for all students.

Under the revised calendar, the week of Aug. 31-Sept. 4 will be earmarked for “continued training on safety-emotional learning, distance learning and technology strategies.”

With Labor Day falling on Sept. 7, the following four days will be used for conferences for each student and their families “to answer specific questions and make sure everyone is ready,” the letter stated.

It was unclear on Wednesday afternoon how many hours of instruction time will be lost as a result of the change.

Superintendent Adam Swinyard is scheduled to address the calendar shift and other issues in a press conference Thursday.

Also Wednesday, the district sent a letter to families claiming to need more time to “make sure staff, students, and families have the tools and training needed to feel confident about distance learning.”

The move also addressed some of the concerns of the Spokane Education Association, the local teachers’ union.

“It’s really so that we’re pushing up conferences and allow teachers to meet with parents and students before the school year begins,” SEA President Jeremy Shay said.

Conferences will last 35-40 minutes per student. Information on the conference sign-up process will be sent later this month.

Spokane isn’t the first local district to postpone the beginning of the school year. Monday, the Mead School District board approved a two-week delay to Sept. 15.

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