Fife Public Schools

A Message from Superintendent Alfano

April 16, 2021

Dear Fife School District Staff and Families,

I hope you had a restful spring break and were able to rejuvenate a little. It’s hard to believe that we are looking at the end of April already!

I wanted to follow up on the email I sent prior to spring break. As you know, some of the requirements for social distancing in classrooms have changed from six feet to three feet. While we all agree that this is good news, the six feet requirement remains in place in some areas of our schools - mainly in cafeterias, gyms and other common areas where masks are not consistently worn.

Additional factors for middle and high schools are also still in place, including case counts in our county, which have risen above the threshold of 200 cases per 100K people. The fact that Pierce County is one of three counties - out of the 39 counties in the state of Washington - to move back to “Phase 2” in the Roadmap to Recovery plan is not great news, and while this data doesn’t directly tie to school reopening, the case counts are listed as criteria to be considered in the return of middle school and high school students.

With that said, our district leadership team has been working with our elementary administrators on finding solutions to this unique situation. With the goal of increasing the number of students who attend on a regular basis (Tuesday-Friday), our teams have been prioritizing which K-5 students might attend class more than their current schedule allows along with when this might take place.

First, we have defined “prioritization” as those students who receive or qualify for additional support services. These support services include: Special Education, English Language Learners, Title I Reading/Math, LAP Reading/Math, McKinney Vento services (students without stable housing situations), students in foster care, and students who are not engaging fully in remote learning.

Each of our elementary school administrative teams is currently working with its school leadership team to prioritize students using the above detailed prioritization criteria. Next, each of our elementary schools will be reaching out to families with invitations to attend school four days a week - Tuesday through Friday. The start date for each student will vary depending on when they receive their invitation based on the prioritized list at their school. The elementary teams will be including siblings in their decision making.

While this is not considered a full return, it is a step in the right direction for elementary students. As for Surprise Lake Middle School, Columbia Junior High, and Fife High School, we will need to wait and watch the community spread numbers before we make any decisions. Additionally, for all secondary students and schools, as we move further into the 4th quarter of the school year, we will weigh the options against the number of school days remaining.

We will have more communication with you soon. In the meantime, be on the lookout in the coming weeks if your K-5 child receives one of the aforementioned prioritized services. Elementary teams are working as we speak!