KING COUNTY, Wash. - Parents are feeling mixed emotions about Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation requiring all school districts to offer some in-person learning.
During the governor’s announcement on Friday, he said the hybrid learning model will begin April 5 with kindergarten through sixth grade.
Marcie Cheung is a parent in the Issaquah School District. She said her son Owen, a first-grade-student, will continue remote learning for the rest of the school year for safety.
"It would be great to get him back in a classroom at some point," said Cheung.
Cheung said she worries if going back to class is still too soon, or too late.
"I’m just not sure how schools are actually going to do it in a way that’s going to be super beneficial for the kids. And we’re already in mid-March, we’re talking about this happening in April and that really only like six weeks before the end of school. So it seems like a whole lot," said Cheung.
WA Alliance 4 Kids, a statewide grassroots advocacy group of parents, has been waiting for this reopening all school year.
"Yes, there’s definitely a feeling of some celebration, and then it’s like well we can’t really exhale. We’ve got to start looking at the next phase—what are we going to do to get all of the kids back in buildings to full capacity," said Nate Perea, administrator for Issaquah School District Alliance 4 Kids.
Perea has three daughters in the district— each one in the 3rd, 6th, and 9th grades. He leads about 1,900 parents in the alliance. The father said parents are already focused on next semester.
"We’re grateful we’re going to have this step, but we’re looking at next fall and the barriers that are still in place," said Perea. "What’s the plan to continuously get back to full capacity with these kids."
Cheung shared a similar concern about the next steps.
"I wish they would be spending their time right now focused on what fall is going to look like because that affects everybody and it’s a fresh start and it’s a chance to get it right this year," said Cheung.
With mixed opinions about the announcement, one thing both parents agree on is they will never stop fighting for their kids’ education.
"Just keep advocating for yourself and for your children because right now it seems like parents are the only ones kind of focused on that right now," said Cheung.
"I get emotional thinking about it. It’s just been a long slog," said Perea while holding back tears. "We have a lot of work left to do though, and that’s what I hope parents remember and they stay with it and they stay with us, stay united and we stay together for the kids because they need a voice in this process."
Issaquah School District superintendent Ron Thiele posted a statement online saying he supports and welcomes the governor’s proclamation. He said the district will continue working with the Issaquah Education Association on a plan to meet the new requirements.