Fife Public Schools
A Message from Superintendent Alfano
October 15, 2020
Dear Fife Public Schools Community,
I wish I was writing to you with better news, but unfortunately I am not. I will get right to the point. Fife Public Schools will not be transitioning to a hybrid learning model on November 2nd, which was our target date established on September 28th.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 case count data per 100,000, the positivity rates, and hospitalization numbers in Pierce County have not decreased since I last wrote to you. In fact, the data we are required to monitor from the Washington State Health Department has only increased in the past two weeks.
Yesterday our board of directors was updated by our staff regarding a variety of data points. Results from our parent survey show us that 33.2% of our students wish to continue in our online learning model even when hybrid learning is permissible. We have also been able to work through a variety of staffing issues related to COVID-19 leave and feel like we are in good shape to cover both learning models, hybrid and online, when the health data cooperates.
Please know we understand this is a terribly difficult time for many of our families. We want nothing more than to have our students back in classrooms participating in live instruction. While we are proud of the advancements we have made in our online learning model, we also understand that we are at our best when teachers and students are together.
Our board of directors is committed to staying informed. We will share updated data with them in a few weeks and make a decision then when we think it will be permissible and feasible to start our transition to hybrid learning. As a reminder, we will begin with our youngest learners in grades K-3. After a week or so, and if our health data is still cooperating, we will continue the transition with grades 4 & 5, 6 & 7, and last, grades 8-12. The timeline will be somewhat flexible allowing for both data monitoring and making sure we are following all health and safety guidelines at each of our schools.
On a positive note, at this point in time, we are allowed to conduct some in-person learning for a very specific group of students. As such, we will begin next week with some small group instruction for preschool students and our highest priority special education students. These are groups of five or less students. Teachers from these programs have been, and will continue, working closely with these students’ parents.
Once again, I thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate this unprecedented time together. Please look forward to more communication from my office during the last week of October. In the meantime, our school administrators will continue to communicate with you specifics regarding each school on a weekly basis.
Kevin Alfano - Superintendent