Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By David Pan 

Mukilteo Schools to continue distance learning through end of year

Preschool through second graders would be the first to return


Last updated 11/11/2020 at 1:49pm

Students in the Mukilteo School District will need to continue to fire up their computers and head online for the rest of 2020.

The district announced Friday, Nov. 6, that it will be delaying bringing back any entire grade levels for in-person instruction until at least January due to increasing COVID-19 case counts.

In a message to families, Superintendent Alison Brynelson said that district staff has been closely monitoring the number of cases in the county and within the school district boundaries.

“After observing the health data for the last several weeks, which reflects increasing case numbers, and recognizing that we are entering the holiday season when more people are gathering indoors, we have decided to delay bringing back entire elementary grades of students until January, at the earliest,” Brynelson said. “This will provide time to monitor the countywide data.”

The district plans to update its tentative plans in early December.

The numbers of COVID-19 cases in Snohomish County are trending upward.

The Snohomish Health District recently reported two record-setting days of new confirmed cases received in a single day, including 250 new cases on Friday, Nov. 6. The high numbers mean that the rolling two-week case rate will see another significant increase.

As previously announced, preschool through second graders would be the first students to return to buildings when the Mukilteo School District decides to resume in-person learning.

“We’ll definitely start with the youngest grades,” district communications and public relations director Diane Bradford said. “The Snohomish Health District recommends that. The rates of COVID don’t seem to transmit as frequently as older children and younger adults.”

Bradford added that younger children generally have a harder time with distance/online learning.

“Our priority is to get the younger kids back in school,” she said.

The district has 15 students receiving in-person, in-building instruction and a handful of English Learners at Mariner. These students need specialized services due to physical, language, disability or other issues.

“We remain committed to bringing students back for in-person learning,” Brynelson said. “We are successfully serving some English learners, and students receiving specialized services in our schools.”

Students are not in buildings full time, but only spend the amount of time they need to receive their services.

“We will continue to expand the in-person learning opportunities for our students with the highest needs, for whom distance learning has proven especially challenging,” Brynelson said. “In the coming weeks, we will work with staff to identify students who may need additional in-person learning support before January.”

A report by the Institute for Disease Modeling, released Nov. 5 by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), continues to support the fall guidance released by DOH and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Based on the fall guidance, the Snohomish Health District’s recommendations have not changed. These include:

• Continued distance learning is still strongly recommended with limited in-person learning for younger learners (especially K-3) and high need students (disabilities, homelessness);

• In-person learning for older students is discouraged, except for high-need students; and

• Recommendation that most in-person extracurricular activities (sports, performances, clubs, events) be canceled or postponed with the option to allow extracurricular activities in small groups of six or fewer students.


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