On Monday, April 6, 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that schools statewide – including all Highline and Federal Way Schools – will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Without these restrictions, public health authorities say the rate of infection will overwhelm our healthcare system.

“We acknowledge continued school closures are difficult for students, staff, families and our entire community,” Highline Public Schools said in a statement. “This is disappointing news for all of us: students miss their friends and teachers, and we miss our students. The extended closure also raises numerous questions for students and families. We are working to answer your questions as soon as possible.”

Here are more details from local school districts:


    • Distance learning will continue through June 19. We are committed to continuing to partner with families and community to support our students’ learning while they are at home.

    • We will continue to prioritize support for our high school seniors to ensure they have what they need for post-secondary transitions. We are working with the state’s college system to ensure smooth transitions.

    • We will continue to provide meals for students at these locations.

    • Child care will continue for children of first responders and healthcare workers. If your child is already enrolled in our childcare service, you do not need to take further action.

    • If your child needs a device or hot spot, please contact your child’s school.

    • All events, including athletics, dances and scheduled school trips, are canceled. We are engaging with students to come up with creative alternatives to celebrate milestones such as prom and graduation. We will keep students and families updated.

    • In-person graduation ceremonies will be modified to virtual ceremonies and/or postponed. We will communicate plans as soon as possible.

    • We are awaiting information from the Governor on whether schools will be open for summer school.

We will continue to support our students and families during this difficult time. We are committed to delivering the very best education possible in these unprecedented circumstances and to doing all we can to support students’ well-being.

If you have questions, please contact your child’s school principal. As a reminder, we have many resources and information related to Coronavirus at highlineschools.org/coronavirus.

Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts in this Thoughtexchange so we can address your questions and concerns.

“We are a strong community, and we will get through this together because We Are Highline.”


While buildings are closed, we will continue to provide remote instruction to scholars through the end of the school year in June.

We recognize the impact a continued school closure has on our scholars, families and staff. We’ve heard from teachers and staff who miss seeing their students, as well as students who miss seeing their peers and teachers. We know this is not easy, but together, we will get through this.

Our families have been critical to supporting scholars learning at home. At no time in our recent memory have we been more dependent on families to support the learning of their children at home than now. As a result, we are committed to providing the additional support to ensure scholar success.

Over the last few weeks staff has been working to redesign how we deliver instruction to  a remote model of teaching and learning that will extend through June replacing in-person classroom model. Something like this would normally take years to do. We continue to follow the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s guidance to support scholars with their learning during the closure.

The extended closure raises questions for students and families about what a closure may mean for the remainder of the school year. While we are still working to refine our remote learning model, every staff member in Federal Way Public Schools is working hard to support scholars and families. Principals are still responsible for leading schools although virtually, teachers and other staff are engaged in professional development, teachers are planning and delivering learning activities and supporting families on how to help their child at home, students are responsible for completing weekly assignments, families will continue to support their child’s learning. Central office staff continue to develop systems and structures to support remote learning needs across our schools.

Our staff has worked hard to develop a continuous learning plan and means of support during the closure. Here are answers to some of these questions:

    • Remote learning. Students will continue to learn during the closure, although it will look different as we transfer to a more enhanced remote learning approach.
      • April 13-17, 2020: Students will continue to work on the hard copy standards-based lessons and activities we previously sent in the mail. These standards are what they’ve already learned prior to closure and are for practice only. Teachers are checking in weekly to provide scholars support with these lessons. Individual teachers may offer suggested projects or activities for practice that pertain to their particular class. Teachers are reaching out to students who didn’t meet standards prior to closure with additional opportunities to demonstrate learning on standards that they may not have mastered.
      • Beginning April 20, 2020, through the end of the school year: We will begin our continuous learning plan with enhanced remote instruction. It’s not an online school and it’s not digital learning. It’s an approach that incorporates a variety of digital and non-digital materials and provides instructional activities around new standards to maintain academic growth and mitigate significant learning loss.
        • Every Monday, students and parents will receive an email from the teacher(s) with a week-at-a-glance outlining the lessons for the week. The learning will be focused on new standards with supporting activities.
          • Elementary students will receive 1-2 essential standards. The weekly schedule will suggest dedicated time for each content area.
          • Secondary students will receive a new lesson for each course.
          • If your child receives special education and/or English Language Learner (ELL) services, you can anticipate additional communications and support.
      • Principals will also be communicating with families on a weekly basis.
      • Remote Learning Guide for ParentsThis document outlines what remote learning is, what it’s not, how families can support, and communication methods.
    •  Grades
      • As you may know, FWPS uses standards-based grading and reporting.
      • Standards that were taught up to the school closure date of March 13, 2020 will be graded. If a student did not meet the standard, the teacher will reach out to the student to help them meet the standard.
      • Students will not receive grades on their learning of new standard-based lessons and activities provided through the end of the school year. However, teachers will be providing feedback on select assignments. It’s essential that scholars participate in the weekly lessons because this learning will build the foundation for the following school year.
    • Support for seniors.
      • On Friday, April 3, 2020, we dispersed loaner laptops to seniors who did not have computer and/or internet access so they can work on completion of coursework towards their high school graduation.
      • High school seniors will receive support from counselors and school support teams to earn and document credits they need for postsecondary transitions.
      • Seniors can expect regular communication from their school support team.
      • A virtual Q&A session will be held for seniors to provide input and ideas for how to approach memorable events like prom, graduation and other senior traditions that may need to be handled virtually, postponed or cancelled.
      • A senior checklist will be provided to help seniors stay on track towards meeting graduation requirements.
      • We will proactively communicate updates about graduation and graduation requirements when available.
    • Free meals for children will continue during the closure at locations across the district. After assessing our meal program model and the “Stay home, stay healthy” order we will be shifting to a model of providing 5 days’ worth of meals. This change will allow families to stay home 4 days of the week versus daily pickup of meals. We anticipate starting this new model on Monday, April 27. More detailed information to come.
    • Childcarewill continue to be available in a limited capacity for children of first responders, health care and essential staff workers. If your child is already enrolled in childcare during this school closure, you do not need to take further action to keep your slot.
    • Technology for students in need.Each school has reached out to survey parents to find out if there is computer and/or internet access at home for students. It’s important to know the district has limited technology resources because our current funding is insufficient to support 1:1. Because of this, we cannot loan computers to every student in the district. Additionally, we have limited Wi-Fi hotspots.
      • We are deploying loaner laptops the week of April 13 and parents of students that need access to a computer and/or Wi-Fi hot spot, based on the survey results, will be contacted with pickup date, time and location.
    • All field trips and events, including sports, socials and dances, will be canceled during the extended closure.
    • Summer school.We are awaiting information from the governor on whether school facilities will be open to provide summer school.
    • Our website includes information about resources such as free to low cost internet options, health care facility information and other helpful resources.
    • Other items.We are fielding questions about when students can pick up items left at school, how to handle fines/fees/refunds, etc. More information to come.

While schools are closed, let’s all do our part to take preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 by washing our hands, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, covering our mouth or nose when coughing and sneezing.

Additionally, we’d like to provide some tips for talking with your child about COVID-19, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

    • Remain calm and reassuring.
    • Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
    • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
    • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
    • Provide information that is honest and accurate.
    • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

We will continue to proactively communicate with staff, scholars and families of any updates or changes related to the school closure. We are here to support our scholars and families as we navigate remote learning together.

Dr. Tammy Campbell, Superintendent