UPSD Schools to Begin 20/21 Year Fully Online

UPSD Schools to Begin 20/21 Year in Fully Online Model
Posted on 07/23/2020
July 23, 2020

Dear UPSD Parents, Students and Guardians:

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has determined that it is unsafe to fully open schools at this time due to the growing number of COVID19 cases in our region. It is not possible to predict what will happen in the coming weeks, but trend data suggests that infection rates will continue to increase. Based on this new information, we have decided to postpone implementation of our hybrid learning model until at least January of 2021. All UPSD schools will open in a fully online model on September 8th.

We know this creates many concerns and challenges for those families who selected the hybrid model in our recent survey. We are very sorry to be making this difficult decision so late in summer. We also want to be clear that our online program will look very different in the coming year than it did in the spring. The shift to a fully online program will allow us to devote all of our time, resources and training over the next six weeks to plan for improving students' learning experiences online. Parents can expect a more structured, consistent and better organized online program with regular opportunity to connect with teachers and get support.

We will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks. More information from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department about school reopening is available on their blog. At this time, we want parents to know the following:

● Technology will be provided to all students who need it and the district will support families to get and stay connected.
● We intend to provide students who need extra support (i.e., special education, intervention and ELL students) with opportunities to receive on-site support in smaller numbers with multiple safety precautions in place.
● School facilities will be open for staff, small group instruction, technology troubleshooting and other activities to support students and families.
● Substantial training has been scheduled in July and August for teachers to improve our ability to deliver “best practices” in online instruction. Training will be ongoing throughout the fall.

We have received many questions about our online model over the last week. We will share information with all of you next week in a FAQ document on our website. Expect additional information about child care opportunities in UP, school schedules, online programming, meal distribution and technology support in the coming weeks. Most of this communication will be grade-level specific and will come from school principals.

We are very sorry that conditions will not allow for a safe, in-person start to the school year. We miss our students and hope for a return to normal schooling soon. In the meantime, we are committed to offering a high quality online experience for every student. As always, thank you for your partnership and support.

Jeff Chamberlin