remote learning | KNKX

remote learning

screenshot of online class / courtesy of the Franklin Pierce School District

Being a teacher right now is not easy. Ryan Davenport had to buy a new Ikea chair because teaching online means sitting around a lot, and that makes his neck hurt. During a regular school year, he’s usually on his feet much of the day, moving around. 

Ryan teaches social studies to seventh-graders in the Franklin Pierce School District in Parkland. But even more than that discomfort, this school year of disruption means Ryan has a harder time making the connections with his students that normally bring him joy. KNKX is following one of his classes this year to illustrate what school is like in the middle of a pandemic. 

screenshot of State Board of Education virtual meeting

Most students in the state are still doing school remotely because of the pandemic. Some parents who are frustrated with distance learning are criticizing a move by the State Board of Education to allow the status quo to continue.

This summer, the state board passed emergency rules to allow schools to provide Zoom classes or other remote instruction in the pandemic. Now the board has adopted new emergency rules to continue that, with a plan to propose permanent rules and hold a public hearing in early January.

javacolleen / Flickr

It’s been eight weeks since the school year began, and Seattle Public Schools has just started offering in-person services for students in special education. One student started this week and the district plans to expand that to 65 children.

Before entering the school, students at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend go through a screening process to prevent anyone who might show COVID-19 symptoms from entering.
Ashley Gross / KNKX

On a recent sunny fall morning, a school bus pulled up in front of Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend. A few kids got off, but before they could enter the school, they had to go through a new pandemic-era procedure.

Ryan Davenport teaches seventh grade social studies at Keithley Middle School in Parkland. He's welcomed KNKX to follow one of his classes through this unprecedented year.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

At schools around the region, a new ritual has been taking place. It’s the back-to-school, COVID-era laptop distribution, as almost all public schools in the state have begun the year with remote learning.

Mila and Dempsey are students in Seattle Public Schools. Dempsey has cerebral palsy and receives assistance from an instructional aide as part of his individualized education program.
Courtesy of Daniela Hall

As school kicks off remotely in much of the Puget Sound region, one big question is what kind of in-person services will be offered to students with special needs. It’s a pressing topic for many parents, especially if their children require a full-time instructional aide.

courtesy of Kittitas school district

Only a handful of school districts in the state are aiming to hold school in person this fall. One of them is Kittitas School District in Central Washington, near Ellensburg.

Nutrition staff, bus drivers, paraprofessionals and volunteers load prepared meals onto school buses on the first day of Franklin Pierce Schools' meal distribution program.
Jovelle Tamayo for NPR

The Edmonds School District has issued layoff notices to 175 bus drivers, and other districts are warning that they may have to do the same thing.

Aimee Rodriguez Webb works on her computer reading emails at her dinning room table that she set up as a virtual classroom for a Cobb County school, on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, in Marietta, Ga.
Brynn Anderson / The Associated Press (file)

Because of the pandemic, the Washington state Supreme Court waived the bar exam for new lawyers who were supposed to take it this past July or in September. But new teachers still have to take an exam to get their teaching certificate, and now they’re asking the governor to eliminate that requirement.

In this Friday, June 5, 2020 photo, fourth-grader Sammiayah Thompson, left, and her brother third-grader Nehemiah Thompson work outside in their yard on laptops provided by their school system for distant learning in Hartford, Conn.
Jessica Hill / The Associated Press (file)

The Federal Way school district is getting some assistance from a local crowdfunding platform to buy 5,000 laptops for students. It’s an example of the many ways school districts are trying to make sure children have what they need for remote learning.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

Marina Gray says her 11-year-old son has fallen into a pandemic pattern.

Like many kids his age, he plays the video game Fortnite with his friends. Back in the pre-coronavirus days, Gray had strict screen-time limits, but now she’s relaxed those restrictions because the game allows him to stay social while also staying safe from the virus.

Ashley Gross / KNKX

School districts are moving forward with the huge task of reinventing school during a pandemic. Now, the state has issued guidance to help with one important part — how to serve students in special education.

Across the state more than 160,000 students receive special education services, and the abrupt switch to remote learning in the spring caused a lot of upheaval for those families.

Jay Chohan's 13-year-old daughter, who is deaf, made a list of pros and cons of remote learning.
Courtesy of Jay Chohan

Parents of children with disabilities in the Puget Sound region say they’re very concerned about the school year to come, as many school districts announce that they’ll begin with remote instruction.