Edmonds School District update: No remote learning, but materials sent to students during closure

While Edmonds School District schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is no plan for district staff to educate students remotely. Instead, staff are working to reinforce and enrich learning while students are at home.

“The idea is we’re not sending home new learning,” said Executive Director for Student Learning Rob Baumgartner. “We’re not expecting families to sit down and teach their students brand new things.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Jay Inslee closed all Washington state K-12 public and private schools through April 24. Some districts – including the nearby Northshore – are providing remote learning opportunities for their students. Baumgartner said the district is following the directive of state officials who have encouraged districts not to teach remotely.

Last week, the Edmonds School District announced that it would make district-owned Chromebooks temporarily available for elementary school students to use for studies at home. The district is also working with local internet providers like Comcast to provide free WiFi hotspots to students without internet access. For more information, visit Comcast’s website.

Distribution of the Chromebooks and hotspots will begin this week. According to Baumgartner, the district has already had requests for 1,600 Chromebooks from elementary school families. Additionally, 510 district families have requested hotspots. Baumgartner said the district will submit some orders next week and will be ordering more.

Rob Baumgartner

“This is a process that keeps changing as we learn more and get more guidance. We have every interest in trying to get as much learning in students’ hands as we can. We just want to do it in ways that make sure that all students have access.”

Prior to the school closures, teachers began distributing educational resources to students so they can study at home. Middle and high school students — who already have access to Chromebooks — received their study materials electronically. However, Baumgartner noted that some circumstances delayed the distribution of materials, including the fact that a Chase Lake Elementary School teacher tested positive for COVID-19 — causing some teachers to stay home.

The district has been primarily focused on providing food for students who rely on school meals during the day and child care for families of health care workers and first responders.

Since the school closures, the district has distributed “to go” breakfasts and lunches to thousands of families at 22 locations. Free meals are available for children up to 18 years old who arrive at a distribution location. Adults can purchase meals for $5 each. Meal delivery is available for families in need.

To learn more about free meal delivery service, click here.

According to a letter from Superintendent Kris McDuffy’s office, the district plans to release more information about child care Monday, March 23. Families in need of child care are encouraged to fill out the district’s family needs survey.

For updates or more information about COVID-19, visit the district’s website.

— By Cody Sexton

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