Fife Public Schools

A Message from Superintendent Alfano

January 4, 2021

Greetings and Happy New Year!

I hope your time over the Holidays was enjoyable, and you were able to rest, relax and rejuvenate. As our students return to distance learning this week, many of you are probably wondering when Fife Public Schools will reopen and begin the transition to hybrid learning.

If you are a parent or guardian of a student in grades 6-12, you have already been asked to respond to a few survey questions in Skyward for a second time. This was done for Fife High School, Columbia Junior High, and Surprise Lake Middle School prior to winter break. For parents or guardians of students in grades K-5, you will receive the survey information later this afternoon.

You may be asking yourself why you may need to update your response again when you have already completed the survey months ago. The simple answer is we need the most accurate, up-to-date information for every student when we begin to transition to hybrid learning. As you can imagine, there are many staffing variables around COVID-19, and we need to be able to staff the variety of learning modalities that will occur simultaneously this spring.

Some families will choose to keep their students at home and continue with distance learning, while some families will choose to send their students back to school. We are currently making plans to staff both choices for all of our K-12 students. This process requires a meticulous attention to detail and relies on the most current and accurate data we can extrapolate from the survey responses in Skyward.

The most likely question you have after winter break is when will we begin the transition to hybrid learning and in-person instruction in Fife. For a rather simple, straightforward question, the answer is not so clear. Like we have done for the past 10 months, we will continue to monitor the health data in Pierce County as provided by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD). With TPCHD guidance, the new Return to School matrix provided by Governor Inslee in mid-December, as well as our survey data, we will be discussing our timeline with teacher leaders, administrators, and school board members in the coming weeks.

With more than half of the school year left (our new semester begins on February 1st), we are hopeful the majority of the second semester will be spent in in-person learning as much as we can while still meeting all of the necessary mitigation measures and safety requirements.

If you are a parent or guardian of a student in grades K-5, please be on the lookout for an additional email with directions for you to log into Skyward and select your chosen learning modality. Again, it will be coming later this afternoon. Additionally, more information will be coming soon from both your child’s school and our district office. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and patience!

Cheers to a Happy and Healthy New Year!