Issaquah teachers concerned about ‘abrupt’ return to in-person learning

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — The Lake Washington School District, the Snoqualmie Valley School District and the Issaquah School District all recently announced their plans to soon send students back to the classroom, but only Issaquah has set a target date for a return.

In an email to parents and teachers last week, Superintendent Ron Thiele detailed plans for kindergarten, first grade and special education students to begin a hybrid schedule on Oct. 15.

Thiele said the date was chosen because guidance encourages districts to monitor the return for a period of two to three weeks.

“I want to give as much advanced notice as I can,” Thiele told KIRO 7 of last week’s email. However, the local teacher’s union says the change is too abrupt.

Derona Burkholder, the President of the Issaquah Education Association, says teachers were taken by surprise by Thiele’s email.

“I began hearing from educators right away,” Burkholder said. “My inbox has been flooded.” Burkholder said many teachers were taken by surprise by Thiele’s announcement as they had just committed to full-time remote learning.

Burkholder further explained that the district is not ready to set the precedent for other district’s return to in-person learning.

“Any type of abrupt changes will cause a ripple effect,” Burkholder said.