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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane district to offer mix of alternating-day and full-time in-person schooling – if buildings can reopen

Students leave Lewis and Clark High School at the end of classes Friday, March 13. When high school students return to school this fall, they will attend classes in person on alternating days, if buildings reopen.  (COLIN MULVANY)

Spokane Public Schools revealed elements of its plan for in-person schooling in the fall in a Tuesday email to staff, but those plans are contingent on one looming uncertainty, the email notes: whether school buildings are able to open at all.

If schools are available for in-person learning, students in kindergarten through fourth grade will attend school five days a week. Students in fifth and sixth grade, however, would “likely” only go to school “on an alternating day schedule to provide adequate spacing and class sizes that meet safety guidelines,” the email says.

Middle school and high school students will also attend school on alternating days, according to the plan described in the email.

“Using an alternating day schedule will allow for proper social distancing and class sizes that accommodate the 6-foot distancing requirement,” the email reads.

The email also says the district is “refining” requirements for mask use and plans that will “ensure plenty of time for outside play and activities.”

Special education students and other students who need extra support will see “modifications” to their lesson plans, the email says, though it does not specify what those changes will look like.

The email also says families that aren’t comfortable with their students returning to in-person instruction will be able to register for a full distance-learning option that can include instructor-led classes, project-based activities and social-emotional learning, according to the email. SPS plans to have details about registration for that option in August.

But if the district learns that in-person learning is off-limits, the email suggests officials will have more homework to do.

“If school buildings are unable to open and SPS needs to offer full distance learning for all students, a model is being developed that provides consistency and clarity for both students and families,” the email says. “Input received throughout the spring from families, students and staff, has informed and helped us focus on the critical components needed for student success including a common platform, regular feedback, and real-time instruction.”

The district will host family webinars to talk about its plans for in-person learning on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and for distance learning a week later, on July 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Maggie Quinlan can be reached at (509) 459-5135 or at