Bringing more kids back to onsite learning

Posted on 10/09/2020
classroomOctober 9, 2020

Dear Parents & Guardians:

We are finishing up our sixth full week of hybrid learning in Royal School District, and we couldn’t be prouder of the perseverance of our incredible staff, students, and families. As I have said from the start, I truly believe that the best place for our students is inside our schools. Over the last several months, educators, parents, and community members have come to understand the real impact of the social-emotional and academic benefits, as well as the basic human needs that are met by providing onsite learning for students.
This is why our Royal School Board of Directors is eager to continue bringing more students onsite to the safest extent possible. After communicating with the Royal Education Association (REA), we are now preparing to transition all* students in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as special education and high-risk students K-12, back to school in-person every day. This will be a gradual transition as outlined below:
  • Monday, October 26th:

    • Red Rock Elementary – All students in kindergarten and 1st grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.
    • Royal Intermediate School - All students in 4th grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.
    • * ALL School Buildings – All special education students, those with an IEP, and students identified by principals/staff as needing additional support or being at high risk (including unsuccessful online learners), will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.
  • Monday, November 16th:

    • Red Rock Elementary – All students in 2nd and 3rd grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.
    • Royal Intermediate School – All students in 5th grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.

As we continue to bring more students back to school in-person, our school start and end times will remain the same, including our late-start Fridays (remember that school begins at 11:00 AM each Friday!).

Why is there a three-week gap between transitioning students back to school?

Our district’s gradual transition into hybrid learning since the start of school in August has proven successful, with no class or school closures. This is due to the diligent and cautious efforts of each of YOU!  In order to keep our staff, students, and community safe, we must continue to follow this model of gradually expanding our cohorts and monitoring each cohort’s health (i.e. COVID-19 cases) over a 14-day minimum time period.  We will need this time to assess and to assure that our systems are continuing to be successful before bringing the next group back. 

Why are we not bringing back all 6th-12th grade students?

Unfortunately, the six-foot distancing requirement and the future construction at Royal Middle and High Schools prevents us from bringing all secondary students back to school in-person full-time.  Our secondary buildings simply cannot accommodate six feet of space between all students on a daily basis.  Therefore, until OSPI and the WA Department of Health remove the six-foot physical distancing requirement placed on schools, we must continue to follow a hybrid-learning model for 6th-12th grade.

What will happen if COVID-19 cases spike by bringing in more students?

As we have done since the start of school, we must remain flexible and prepared to transition quickly to remote learning if schools are required to close. The good news is, we have all had plenty of experience now in pivoting to 100% remote learning! Every school and classroom must be prepared for the possibility of an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases and the need to quarantine. If this happens, we will follow all protocols established by state and local health departments. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with our district’s COVID Notification & Reporting Process, which is enclosed in this communication and can also be found on our website at https://www.royalsd.org/reopen/covid-reporting.

Please help us continue to stay healthy and safe!

The most effective way for fighting the virus and bringing all students back to school is to do your part and encourage others to:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
  4. Stay home when you are sick or have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19.
  5. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or inside of elbow, throwing the tissue away, and then washing hands.
  6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and mask.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  8. Limiting use of shared objects.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school with any questions or concerns. Thank you for all that you are doing to support your child’s education and well being.

Sincerely,

Roger W. Trail
Superintendent