Issaquah School District announces plans to bring elementary school kids back into the classroom

As COVID cases continue to dip, more school districts are announcing plans to bring kids back to the classroom.

Issaquah School District on the Eastside is one of the latest to say they will bring some students back as early as the end of September.

Issaquah mom Kelly Butterworth says she feels lucky that she doesn’t have to work but keeping her two kids learning at home online is turning out like a full-time job.

“It’s like every half hour I have to, I need to, help navigate to the next thing,” Butterworth said.

Even 15 minutes of uninterrupted time is hard to come by as Q13 News witnessed during Friday’s interview with Kelly.

Kelly’s 5th-grade daughter is doing much better keeping on track with the district’s online lessons, her second grader is a different story.

So the latest news that Issaquah School District plans to bring elementary school students back inside the classroom is a good one for Kelly and other families like the Subbaiah’s.

“It’s essential to start as soon as possible with the most vulnerable population while still retaining a 100% percent online option because everyone’s situation is different,” Marina Subbaiah said.

Subbaiah is also a mother of two with one child in second grade as well.

Superintendent Ron Thiele says starting the week of September 28th, his goal is to bring back students and preschoolers with special needs first.

Then by October 15, K through 1st grade could be back in the classroom.

2nd through 5th grade will soon follow weeks later in intervals.

“When you’re being asked to go back out to the world in any respect it’s terrifying,” Subbaiah said.

Subbaiah is a nurse who had no choice from the beginning of the pandemic to send her children to several different childcare facilities.

“I was extremely anxious about sending my kids to daycare,” Subbaiah said.

She says there have been no COVID cases in those facilities and those developments are helping her to feel comfortable about sending her kids back to school.

She calls it a calculated risk but both Subbaiah and Kelly agree with in-person learning as long as schools follow strict health guidelines.

Exactly what the hybrid model will look like still needs work but Thiele on Friday praised the teachers on how they are handling online learning so far.

Thiele telling Q13 News the district will have to match teachers who want to come back into the classroom with families who feel the same.

 “I do feel like it’s a tricky thing to balance,” Butterworth said.

Butterworth says she understands the people who don’t want to come back for health reasons.

Thiele says his decisions are in line with state health guidelines. Right now the number of COVID cases in the area do not meet the requirement set by health officials for middle and high schoolers to come back into the classroom.