Some students begin hybrid learning this week

VIDEO: Some students return to in-person learning this week

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Even as Washington reports new cases of coronavirus, some of the state’s youngest students will return to the classroom this week.

Starting Tuesday, the Issaquah School District will begin sending some special education students back into classrooms.

But it isn’t the only district experimenting with in-person learning.

Content Continues Below

On Monday, kindergarten and first-grade students within the Peninsula School District in Gig Harbor will return to their classrooms as well.

In Issaquah, those grades will not be welcomed back until the first group of students transitions from offline learning safely and there are no outbreaks.

The superintendent said if that worked out, the plan would be to send two grade levels at a time back to school about every three weeks.

In a letter to educators obtained by KIRO 7 over the weekend, the teacher’s union said a hybrid in-person model has not been bargained yet.

KIRO 7 spoke to the union president last week who said the decision feels more like whiplash and that more thoughtful planning is needed.

Superintendent Rob Thiele sits on the other side of the argument.

He said he believes in the benefits brought forth by brick-and-mortar education.

But some teachers at Thursday’s school board meeting pushed back on that.

“If I have a class that is between pre-K reading level and end of second grade, and I put 10 of them in the same room and I can’t make a small group because they’re all 6 feet apart, where I can on Zoom, how am I going to make that work?” said first-grade teacher Molly Bankson.

Other questions linger.

What will busing look like? How will paraeducators be brought back into the classroom?

The Lake Washington and the Snoqualmie Valley school districts also recently announced plans to soon send students back to the classroom, but only Issaquah set a target date for a return.