SUNNYSIDE —The new start date for the return to hybrid learning has been announced on Tuesday morning, October 27, after Superintendent Kevin McKay and the Sunnyside School District announced delaying the initial start date.

Sunnyside School District posted on the school website that the new start date from hybrid learning will be Nov. 5, with middle school students returning on Nov. 23, and high school returning on Dec. 14, following the Yakima Health District’s guidelines of three weeks of staggered start dates.

On the Oct. 5 Board of Directors special meeting, the board had agreed on returning students – starting the staggered reopening with elementary aged students – on Monday, Oct. 26. However, last Tuesday, the district announced it would not proceed as planned.

Superintendent McKay explained, “We, in general as a district, just didn’t feel like we were ready. And there are a combination of a lot of different factors.”

Citing logistical issues resulting in the decision such as transportation complications, several high risk employees needing to remain remote, and the number of students who responded wanting to remain remote, which posed the largest challenge.

“We did not expect a third of our students wanting to stay in a virtual learning model. That’s a significant amount,” McKay expressed.

After research from surrounding schools, McKay added the district anticipated a smaller number of students wanting to remain remote, stating other districts had 10-15% of students staying online.

However, with 33.5% of the 5,670 students who responded to the school survey wanting to keep in their Continuous Learning 2.0 model, McKay took pause to reflect.

“That’s a lot of kids when you start to think about it… The kids who have determined to continue their education virtually are just as important as the kids who want to return in a hybrid model.”

Elementary schools will be reaching out to schedule orientations for students to take place on Oct. 29 through Nov. 3. The school district also stressed there will be a Daily Health Screening Toolkit which includes a Daily Health Screening packet, lanyard, and the clear pocket for the Daily Health Screening note.

The attestations will need to be filled out by parents in order to be able to attend in person classes.

Sunnyside School District urges parents who may have questions contact their child’s school directly.

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