School districts across Washington work to finalize summer school plans amid COVID-19

SEATTLE -- The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schools and learning across Washington. Many districts are now planning what summer school will look like for students.

Students in Seattle Public Schools have not been inside their classrooms since March 12th after the state ordered schools across Washington to close during the coronavirus outbreak. District spokesperson Tim Robinson said learning from home during the pandemic has impacted many students and their education.

“Everybody has learned that this is really a challenge for everyone—for the students, for the teachers, but for the families of those students too. Some of them may have lost jobs and have to stay home and they’re struggling economically,” said Robinson.

In previous years, SPS would invite about 2,500 students who needed help meeting criteria by grade level to its summer school program. This year, the district is extending the invite to all students to ensure they are getting enough support in their education during these tough times.

“This is just a good opportunity for them to stay in there and to keep it going and to prepare for their next educational step,” said Robinson. “It’s continuous learning and that’s what we’ve been practicing since our school buildings closed.”

Robinson mentioned SPS and selected teachers are still developing plans and format for remote learning. Enrollment for the program begins May 26th and ends June 12th. Summer school will run from July 6th to August 7th.

Elementary students will receive 25 lessons during summer school—10 on English Language Arts, 10 on Math and five on Social Emotional Learning.

“There will be some live interactions in the elementary level. The teachers will have a meeting with their entire class, at least once a week where they will do reading or art or some sort of project and be able to connect with the entire class,” said Robinson.

Middle school and high school students will receive 20 lessons during summer school—10 on English Language Arts and 10 on Math. The district has additional information about its summer school program plans on its website.

Remote learning is invite only for elementary and middle school students in Bellevue School District. Students will receive lessons on Literacy and Math. The district lists summer school options for high school students and additional information about remote learning on its website.

Everett School District will offer online learning for its students. 2nd grade through 5th grade students will need an invite to the program. The summer school enrollment deadline for elementary and middle school students is May 22nd. The district lists summer school options for high school students and additional information about online learning on its website.

Tacoma Public Schools is still developing its plans for online learning. The district said it will announce summer school programming in June. A spokesperson for the district outlined some the plans they're working on in a statement:

"At the elementary level, we're taking some of the in-person experiences we intended to offer--such as day camp explorations of Point Defiance Park--and turn those into online experiences.

At the upper grades, we have an online learning platform used by many districts called Edgenuity. It allows students who are behind in credits to take courses so that they can earn credit and catch up. It also allows students who want to work ahead on their credits to do so.

We're also working on a contingency plan to have a few small group, in-person classes. But whether we offer those will depend on whether the governor lifts restrictions enough to allow them. By offering those classes, it will allow us to field test what some our fall school experiences may look like and learn lessons that will make them more effective."

As plans for summer education get finalized, area school districts are saying thank you to families who have championed this new way of learning.

“They’ve really become partners in this teaching and learning. And we hope that they’ll continue to hang in there and be a real positive component in their student’s efforts to take that next educational step,” said Robinson.