Covid 19 Distance Learning

Fall Re-Opening 20-21 Information/Registration

White River families -

versión en español
russkaya versiya


Please read this carefully. I know it’s long, but there are portions that will not pertain to your child. Once you have read this, I need every family to take our very short, four-question survey, which is linked on page 4. This survey needs to be completed for each of your students. We need the information from you to help us plan our staffing for the fall.

While the messaging from the state may have made this sound simple, “Just spread out the kids”, the reality for schools across the state is much more complex.  Classrooms are not built to accommodate six feet of distance between students. Many teachers have moved to using tables for collaborative work. Some classes pose unique challenges, band, and choir, CTE classes, pre-school classes. We need to ensure that there is time for custodians to thoroughly clean. How do we serve lunch? How do we health check? What does it look like in hallways? We have staff and students who are immunocompromised – what will this look like for them? How do we safely transport students? There are many details to sort out.

We want to share the basic framework of what school in White River will look like in the fall. We know that you are going to have a million questions as soon as you read through this. We are still working out all the details and will share those as soon as we have them nailed down. But we know that this schedule will impact families and wanted to get the essential details out to you as early as possible.


There are a few in-person protocols that will be true at all grade levels. These are based on the state, and Department of Health guidelines.
1) All students and staff will wear a face-covering unless they have a health concern that does not allow that.
2) Classrooms and busses will be set up to maintain 6’ physical distancing protocols.
3) Staff or student who becomes ill at school will be isolated until they can be sent home

We will have limited bus transportation. The Department of Health guidelines mean that we will have a significantly reduced capacity per bus. This will be a little different for each route, as children from one household can sit together, but children from different households will need to be physically distanced. We are hoping that those families who are able to will transport their children to school.

Based on the recommendation from the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department., our current plan will be to have parents screen their students each day for COVID-19 symptoms prior to coming to school.  There will be further information regarding this process going out during the summer and before school starts.  There will be limited onsite screening available for families who are not able to conduct health screenings for their students.  This practice is subject to change as determined by the Department of Health.

The plan for cleaning next year is to have our buildings and buses deep cleaned on a nightly basis, as well as increase the frequency with which high touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected. We use EPA certified disinfectants to ensure that our facilities are the safest and healthiest possible. In addition, every classroom will have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on hand for immediate use. 

Please read through the following description for each age level and category carefully. We know for some families, September is uncertain. We are asking that all families register in Skyward Family Access for the fall so we know how many teachers we need to allocate and train for each model. Please be thoughtful. We recognize these decisions are hard to make in June, but because of the constraints on room capacities, staffing, and transportation, students may not be able to switch between models once school has started. (in school vs distance learning)

Preschool/Early Kindergarten

All Preschool and Early Kindergarten students will attend school Tuesday through Friday, for either an AM or PM class.


Developmental Preschool

Developmental preschool students will attend school Tuesday through Friday, for either an AM or PM class. The IEP team will work with families on alternative schedules as needed and appropriate.


Kindergarten-Grade 5
All K-5 students will attend school Tuesday through Friday, all day.
Monday afternoons will be set aside for students who need additional support.

(Wilkeson Kindergarteners will be attending school at the Early Learning Center in the fall)

We will make every effort to ensure that siblings in grades 6-12 are on the same A/B schedule.
While we looked at a variety of models, an every-other-day model was selected, because this allows teaching and independent work to be more evenly distributed. It also allows for timely feedback to the students.

Middle and High School Students
Middle and High School students will attend school on an A/B schedule. Students will attend either Tuesday and Thursday, or Wednesday and Friday.
Students will continue their work independently during the days that they are not in the building.
Monday afternoons will be set aside for students who need additional support.

WIAA has engaged with the Governor's Office as well as the State Department of Health and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop guidelines regarding a coordinated approach for fall sports at the high school and middle school level based on the 4 phases in the Safe Start Washington plan.  By the second week of July, WIAA is expected to provide details regarding the start of the fall sports season.

THRIVE classrooms

Students in the THRIVE program will be served on campus daily, Tuesday through Friday.  IEP case managers will work with families to work within the IEP to meet each student’s needs.  Additional time and support may be available on Monday afternoons, based on decisions made by the IEP team.


Low Incidence Disability classrooms

Students in the LID program will be served on campus daily, Tuesday through Friday.  IEP case managers will work with families to work within the IEP to meet each student’s needs.  Additional time and support may be available on Monday afternoons, based on decisions made by the IEP team.


Students receiving resource support

Students receiving resource support will be served by their resource teacher on days that they attend school (Tuesday-Friday for grades K-5, T/Th or W/Fr for grades 6-12).  Additional time and support may be available on Monday afternoons, based on decisions made by the IEP team.


Students receiving just related services with an IEP (speech, OT, behavior, etc)

For students who are not in LID or THRIVE classroom, but are served with an IEP, staff will be working individually with the student and family to develop the most appropriate education plan.


Transition Program

Transition program services will be available Tuesday through Friday.  The case manager will work with families to determine the best plan for each student within the IEP process.


Highly Capable Program

Evaluation for new students to the highly capable program will occur at school in September 2020.  Buildings will evaluate the number of students served and announce to families when they will meet with students in the elementary after school program.  Middle and High School students will continue to meet during the school day as previously done.

Distance Learning Model
For families who have concerns about sending their students to school, we will provide a continued distance learning model. Students who opt for full-time distance learning will be connected to a certificated teacher(s).

Students may not be able to switch between models once school has started. (in school vs distance learning)

Currently, we are planning these as our models and options for the 2020-21 school year. However, at any time if we are told that we can return to ‘normal’ school we will happily do that. We are also prepared to pivot back to full-time distance learning if that is required. 

We have learned a lot over the last three months.  In addition, we’ve collected a lot of information from you through our surveys and over thirty hours of parent focus groups at all levels. We also had a large workgroup of teachers and paraeducators providing input on what worked well. Our principal teams have met for hours working through scenarios. 

Please log into Skyward Family Access and register for one of the following four options for your child for the 2020-21 school year ASAP.  Please refer to the information above for specific grade level or further option details.  In Skyward you need to make this selection for EACH child you have.


OPTION 1: I plan to send my student to school in the fall. I've reviewed what the in-school model for fall is and am comfortable with it.

OPTION 2: I plan to have my student engage in full-time distance learning in the fall. I understand this means they will be connected to a full-time certificated teacher.

OPTION 3: I plan to submit a Declaration of Intent to Homeschool in the fall. I understand this means my student will be withdrawn from the school district, and will not receive district resources.

OPTION 4: There are too many uncertainties and I cannot commit to a decision about school in the fall at this time.

Skyward Family Access Link 
How to Register for fall help video link (English version)
Cómo registrarse para el enlace de video de ayuda de otoño (versión en Español)
Как зарегистрироваться для получения справочной ссылки на видео (Испанская версия)

If you have forgotten your password please use the "Forgot Password" option and you will get a reset link at your email on file. If you do not have a current email on file you can contact your school's office staff:

Elk Ridge Elementary 360-829-3354
Foothills Elementary 360-829-3355
Glacier Middle School 360-829-3395
Mountain Meadow Elementary 360-829-3356   
White River Early Learning Center 360-829-5830             
White River High School 360-829-3352
Wilkeson Elementary 360-829-3357

Thank you for helping us plan for fall. The safety of our students, staff, and families is always our first priority. We will continue to update you as we have more information.

Janel Keating Hambly, Superintendent

If you wish to homeschool your child, please contact Elizabeth Snodgrass (360-829-3814) for the Declaration of Intent to Homeschool paperwork. Please be aware that homeschooled students are not enrolled in the district and will not receive a Chromebook or other district tools and supports. Parents should reach out to local homeschool associations to connect with resources.

White River families:
- CDC recommendations have changed in the last week and as a result, the Governor has announced that schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties will be closed as of Tuesday, March 17th and that schools will remain closed at least until April 24th.
- White River will close Monday, March 16th. Teachers will use Monday and Tuesday next week to plan and coordinate providing distance learning. Friday, March 13th is the last student day.
- Otherwise healthy children are not at high risk for contracting COVID-19. Schools are being closed to reduce the possible transfer of the virus within our community and in particular to high risk populations.
- As the Governor said, it’s critical that we contain the spread of the virus, and we have reached the point where we need to drastically change community behaviors to mitigate the effects of the virus. We are all being asked to practice stringent social distancing - you can go out in public but stay 6 or more feet from other people. Wash your hands! And don’t put your hands to your face. If we all practice these simple precautions we can have a huge impact on the spread of COVID-19.
- Closing our schools is a difficult decision and has involved MANY conversations with King, Pierce and Snohomish school districts, OSPI, the Governor’s office, and Health Departments. It is not made lightly. We know the impact this will have on our community.
- This is difficult, but we know we can do it if we work together to support each other and the children of our community. Thanks to our generous voters, we have the ability to move to distance learning almost immediately.
- Pre-school, early kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade will receive weekly learning packets from their teachers, and teachers will be using Seesaw to communicate with families.
- Second through eighth grade students will have a Chromebook and charging cord checked out to them on Friday, which they will be bringing home.
- High school students already have devices checked out to them. If you have a high school student who does not have a device, please contact principal Cody Mothershead.
- We are working hard to provide services for our students and families, but this is going to take families, neighbors, faith communities and organizations working together to support each other! We know that closing our schools is a critical move to meet the greater good of our community.
- We will continue to provide breakfast and lunch from central distribution points. Details will be coming to you.
- We will be providing you with a lot of information in the next week about what this is going to look like, but we want our families to have some time to prepare. We apologize for this short notice to our families, but these changes have happened rapidly over the last 24 hours. We will continue to update information here.
We will be sending you additional information as we work through our plans. Some of the specific major topics on our list are:
- Special Education Services
- English Language Services
- State testing
- Graduation requirements
- Athletics
- Early Learning registration
Thank you for your patience as we work through all of this!