Fife Public Schools

A Message from Superintendent Alfano

December 4, 2020

Dear Fife Schools Community,

Although I know many of you had a “different” Thanksgiving this year - as did my family - I hope you had a chance to relax, watch a little football, and eat too much! Heading into the last couple weeks of school in 2020, I wanted to touch base with you and speak to a few points.

First, the data we use to monitor our potential return to hybrid learning is not looking great. Case counts per 100k and the test positivity rate in Pierce County are way up, and we are now also seeing increased cases of hospitalizations. I wish this was not the case, but unfortunately it is. With the obvious being stated, we are still moving forward with planning for students to return sometime in 2021. At this point in time, we still do not have a confirmed date, and we will be monitoring the data throughout December and into January. Our goal is to give you ample time to make arrangements for the next unique schedule we will implement - our Hybrid Learning model.

If you are a parent of a high school, junior high or middle school student, you should have received an email asking you to once again log into Skyward and inform the district as to your intentions with your child either returning to in-person learning or staying with remote learning for the remainder of the school year. Our elementary families will receive this information after the first of the year. Because this is an ever changing situation with many variables, including staffing needs, we need to have the most precise and accurate data possible. The email containing the survey information has more details on why we are asking you to do this again.

As many of you know, we have been serving preschool and small groups of special education students on site for some time now. It is our hope after the first of the year, and before we reopen schools with hybrid schedules, we will expand the number of small groups in all of our schools. Because of the very high case counts at this time, however, we are not expanding or adding any additional small groups in the coming weeks before winter break.

The one exception to the expansion of small groups being on site is regarding athletics at Fife High School. The Fife School District will be moving forward with a plan to begin after school in-person athletics - with strict adherence to all health guidelines as established by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and the Governor’s orders. Our mission during the COVID-19 pandemic is to work with students to support their emotional, social and physical well-being. Some of our coaches have been working remotely for the past several weeks following up on students, holding team meetings, working with recruiters, and conducting grade checks.

In preparation for in-person athletics, the Fife High School Athletics Department has put in place strict protocols that ensure the safety of students and coaches to initiate mental and physical training in the WIAA open coaching period from December 7th to January 23rd. Fife High School will share the protocols with parents and students soon, if they haven’t already. These protocols are non-negotiable and are determined by the WIAA, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, and the Fife School District. Columbia Junior High and Surprise Lake Middle School will announce their schedules and process after the winter break.

The in-person athletic program will begin with outdoor workouts only, and the Fife School District will work together within established safety guidelines to determine indoor workouts when appropriate. Questions regarding this can be directed to the Fife High School Athletic Director, Shane Nixon (

Last, I would like to encourage you to keep up the good work with monitoring your students' classwork. I know it has been a long time for students to be away from their schools and classrooms. I, too, have a high school student at home. It can be frustrating, tiring, and hard work. But please, continue to work with your child, and keep an open communication channel with their teacher(s) and, if need be, their counselors and school administrators. Together we will get through the last leg of this pandemic and hopefully return to normal sooner than rather than later.

Be well,