Fife Public Schools
A Message from Superintendent Alfano
May 21, 2021
Dear Fife School District Staff and Families,
I hope this email finds you well and ready for the last month of the 2020-2021 school year. It is a major understatement to say that this has been a unique and long school year. However, as the news of the COVID-19 pandemic turns in a promising direction, we are happy to announce plans for the 2021-2022 school year.
For Fife Public School students, the 2021-2022 school year will be full in-person learning for all students PreK-12! This means a regular student calendar, 5 days a week, similar to our pre-COVID school calendar, including late start Mondays.
As we have learned during the pandemic, we will most likely have some mitigating safety measures in place next school year. Those measures will be determined as we move forward this summer and will be prescribed by OSPI and our local health experts, the WA State Department of Health and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. It is too early to know what they will be exactly, so we will communicate those expectations as they unfold this summer.
I would guess things like handwashing, good ventilation systems, and some social distancing are to be expected. The good thing about those expectations is that they are easy to implement, and we have already mastered them. As for masks, I don’t have an answer for certain now, but in looking at current guidance for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, we will certainly have many students (specifically those under 12 years old) that will not be vaccinated. Thus, I would anticipate masks being required in our schools next year. Please know, this is only speculation, and we will have final guidance this summer. As for the remainder of this school year, all mitigation measures will remain in place.
Accordingly, our school and district leaders are planning for a full return. We are excited about this work and ready to have all students return full time. I also acknowledge that we have some families that will still be uncertain about returning to in-person learning. As we had in pre-COVID time, we will have limited options for remote learning and/or home schooling. As a small school district, Fife will not have the capacity to host its own full-time remote learning option like larger school districts such as Tacoma. The remote options will be limited to 3rd party providers and/or designed for extreme or special circumstances, such as credit recovery for some of our 9-12 students. CJH and FHS staff can assist those students in identifying the appropriate remote learning resources.
Next week, we will be sending out a survey/declaration for parents to follow up with. It will be very short and look similar to the Skyward surveys we did last fall. This information will help us in planning schedules and staffing for the 2021-2022 school year. It is very important that parents follow up as soon as it is received.
I would also like to share an additional resource with you. OSPI has created a document titled Returning to School in Fall 2021: Frequently Asked Questions. Please take a look as It contains a lot of helpful information.
Finally, I want to close this communication with a thank you. Thank you all for your support, patience, and trust as we have navigated the past 15 months. Our hope is that by next fall we are back to as normal a school day as possible, with activities, sports, and as many “Fife traditions” as possible. We will continue to communicate with you from my office and from our schools. The fall will be very busy with the opening of the new Fife Elementary School and the transition of our district office to the old Endeavour Elementary School. We are excited and hope you are too!
Please be on the lookout for additional communication next week, and please make sure you follow up with the survey as soon as you receive it.