SUNNYSIDE — As the August school term keeps inching closer, the uncertainty paired with cautious optimism highlights decisions being made for students’ return is palpable – as parents voice their opinions about their students and hopes for their schooling during the pandemic.

Sunnyside School District Superintendent Kevin McKay reiterated during the fourth General Advisory meeting held Wednesday, July 15, that through survey findings the model most likely to be implemented is the Hybrid Model with a rotating schedule.

He explained students would be separated into two groups with the first group having in class learning with social distancing for two days, while the second group commences online learning. Then, group one would have two days of online learning, while the second group will have in-class learning.

McKay then asked parents to voice their biggest concerns and parents responded to the call.

Questions about students that need special education requirements such as being differently abled or having language barriers was a cause for concern. Parents also worried mostly about childcare if their students are asked to stay home with the Continuous Learning 2.0 online model.

McKay stated each grade of students presents its own set of challenges “which makes this whole thing so difficult to try and meet everybody’s needs in a pandemic.”

No matter the obstacles being presented, one thing is certain – schools must reopen according to the governor’s guidelines and the federal guidelines.

McKay also reminded parents that the model the school district chooses must provide for the health and safety of the students, families, employees, and include as many students as possible. It must be flexible to meet individual student and parent needs while abiding by the requirements set by the Department of Health, the Office of the Superintendent, State Board of Educators, and Labor and Industries while also gaining the approval of the Sunnyside School District Board of Directors.

What the upcoming school year will look like is not yet known as the school district has yet to work with the union on re-opening. “Once we get clearer on a hybrid model, that’s going to help us start doing work with each of our different employee groups.”

Finetuning the Hybrid Model will continue as the next General Advisory meeting is set for Wednesday, July 22, at 2:30 p.m.

McKay will also be hosting another Facebook live community forum on July 27 at 5:30 p.m. to address the discussions of the General Advisory and Sub-Advisories.

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email esustaita@sunnysidesun.com.

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