Superintendent addresses class of 2020, Juneteenth, upcoming school year in new update

In a letter shared June 19, the last day of the school year, Superintendent Donna Colosky congratulated the class of 2020, acknowledged the day as Juneteenth and continued discussions around the 2020-21 school year, which had been addressed in another recent district update.

“We are so proud of what [the class of 2020 has] accomplished,” Colosky wrote. “We know your resilience and commitment to learning will serve you well in the future. We are proud of all of our students, our staff, and you, our families, for all the work that has been accomplished to educate and support our youth during this remarkable time. We hope you’ll be able to take some time to reflect with your student(s) on their efforts and achievements during a spring when our state and world were in the middle of a health crisis.”

In the letter, Colosky provided background on the Juneteenth holiday and encouraged community members “to recognize this day through participation in family-learning opportunities that honor this important historical event for Black Americans.”

The bulk of Colosky’s written update was taken up by a discussion around the upcoming school year.

“Full-time classroom education for fall 2020 remains uncertain,” Colosky said. “We are all hopeful that by the start of the school year, King County will be in the final phase of recovery and re-opening. Our goal is to reopen our schools with as much face-to-face instruction as safely possible.”

As a result, Colosky said, the district is “developing multiple contingency plans that put our students first but consider the health and safety of all.”

She invoked the use of workgroups for planning, whose particulars had been discussed in more detail in a previous letter, and how they will be working in tandem with guidelines from King County Department of Health and reopening guidance from Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The workgroups, Colosky wrote, are creating plans for four possible levels of instruction. Each level is built on health directives from state and local authorities.

All levels are meant to foster as much in-person engagement as possible. The levels are described in Colosky’s letter as follows:

Red Learning Day — Remote learning 2.0

  • Could impact one or more schools
  • High level of threat to health and safety of students and staff
  • Schools will require cleaning or preparation
  • Notice to community as soon as district is aware
  • School(s) will move to a new phase along the Learning Forward continuum when safe

Orange Learning Day — Hybrid learning

  • Split schedule by days for students to attend for face-to-face instruction
  • Students will attend two to three days per week depending on services received and program participation
  • Remote learning for independent learning and online small-group instruction on days when students are not in the building
  • Consideration determined by how facilities can accommodate physical distancing and cleaning requirements

Yellow Learning Day — In-school instruction with significant limitations and precautions

  • Return to school with enhanced precautions
  • Limited transportation to and from school
  • Schools only open to students and staff
  • Staggered drop off and pick up times and locations
  • No large group activities especially indoors

Green Learning Day — In-school instruction with reduced limitations and precautions

  • Continuation of the Yellow Learning model, but with relaxed precautions and limitations based on guidance form Health authority

Colosky added in the letter that the district is planning for each level involving in-person instruction to incorporate health and safety precautions like health screenings, physical distancing, reinforced hygiene (e.g., hand-washing) practices, increased cleaning/disinfection, accommodations based on health/quarantine concerns, no large group gatherings, limited shared instructional materials and mandatory face coverings.

Colosky said that as the district continues to develop its reopening plans, personnel will continue to communicate with families about impacts. She encouraged families to continue to take district surveys when they became available.

The update did not include a response to the letter sent earlier this month by community members to district stakeholders demanding immediate curriculum changes in response to police-brutality protests.

“As we close the 2019-20 school year, I want to again extend my thanks and appreciation to our students, staff, and families for working with us during this unique period in our history,” Colosky concluded. “I wish you all a joyful, safe and healthy summer.”

To read the letter update in full, go to