As School Districts across the state have announced their immediate plans for full online learning to begin the upcoming school year – protecting their students, staff, and community from furthering the spread of COVID-19, the Sunnyside School Board plans to make their decision the following week on Friday, August 7.

The board is waiting to review new information and guidance from the Washington State Department of Health or Yakima Health District, which is expected to be released by Monday, August 3, with the start of school scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 26.

However, waiting two and a half weeks to submit a plan to the YHD for approval before it is sent to the Office of the Superintendent when the requirement is two weeks is cutting it a bit close.

Not acting until Friday evening to inform the public of their decision doesn’t leave much opportunity for the community to take part in helping to voice their opinion or comments on what model is going to be adopted.

Sunnyside School District’s Executive Team, administration, staff, and community members have made a concerted effort during the advisory groups’ meetings discussing options and adjusting possible plans over the past month.

Information and contingency plans have been presented which strongly encourage online learning. Parents, teachers, and staff need to know now to prepare and for roles to be discussed, especially for para-educators, whose roles are unclear to them for the upcoming year.

The School District has also made plans to readjust their model into a hybrid and, eventually, back into safely teaching traditionally. So strictly online learning will not be made permanent.

Students, parents, school employees and the community deserve to know the plan of action for a healthy new beginning to the school year.

Patrick Shelby for the Sunnyside Sun editorial board.

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