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Large school districts in King County plan to start school year virtually

Adrian Florez

Some big school districts in King County say they plan to start the school year off virtually instead of in person. Those districts include Seattle, Bellevue, Renton and Highline.

The news comes as a relief to a lot of teachers, who have been worried that in-person school would jeopardize their health. And while some families also prefer remote school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it presents significant challenges for working parents. And some students are at risk of falling behind.

“I would like to see an opportunity for us to take this time to find and engage our students who have gone missing, students who are homeless, students in foster care,” said Molly Mitchell with the Seattle Council PTSA. “How can we provide mental health support and community support for young people who are maybe living in trauma?”

Public Health — Seattle & King County says it’s been offering information and data to school district leaders making plans for fall. The agency says COVID-19 transmission is of serious concern right now, and the average daily number of new cases is now more than four times what it was in early June.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.