July 22, 2020

Dear Bellevue Learning Community:

As your superintendent, it has always been my hope that our students would return to school this fall at one of our 29 school campuses. There is no substitute for in-person learning. It provides essential connections for our students with both the educators who know them well and their classmates. The school board and I have been planning for a safe return to school as we monitored public health data, gathered information and input from our staff and families, and weighed all of the risks and competing interests.

On Tuesday afternoon, I along with other superintendents in the region met with officials from Public Health – Seattle & King County. During our meeting, the health officials clearly stated that, based on the steady increase of COVID-19 infections in King County over the last several weeks, they cannot imagine a way to have on-campus learning in the fall without the risk of significant transmission of the virus to students, educators, staff, and the general public.

As the person who ultimately bears responsibility for the health and safety of our students, educators, and staff in our schools, I cannot in good conscience open our school campuses to most of our students this fall based on this clear guidance from public health officials.

It is with this knowledge and concern that I announce that Bellevue School District will begin school this fall with remote learning for all families. Our plan is to evaluate the remote start for all after the first six weeks of school.

  • Families that opted to participate in a Hybrid Learning model will begin school in a Temporary Remote Learning model with the plan to move to the Hybrid Learning model when infection rates are significantly lower.
  • There is no change for the families that opted to participate in the BSD Virtual Learning model for the first semester.

Based on this announcement and the availability of instructional schedules, we will be reaching out to families again to confirm their intent to enroll in either the Temporary Remote/Hybrid Learning model or the BSD Virtual Learning model. We expect to release questionnaires on July 28 with a due date of July 31. Your response will greatly assist the district in assigning students to educators and building schedules for middle and high school students.

I know this is not how we all hoped the 2020-2021 school year would start. Just last fall, when the 2019-2020 school year started, none of us anticipated a global pandemic would emerge to disrupt and threaten our daily lives. Your feelings of frustration, anxiety, disappointment and even fear are reasonable and completely understandable. I thank you for embracing our paramount goal of keeping all students, educators, and staff healthy and safe. And I thank you for being so caring, courageous, and supportive during these very trying times.

Limited in-person services to support our students and their families:

The Bellevue School District recognizes that the pandemic continues to impact our families. With the start of the school year, we will offer some limited in-person services to support our students and their families:

  • Childcare,
  • Services for students with specific needs, and
  • Learning support at schools for elementary, middle, and high school students.

More details about these services will be communicated with families as specific plans are available.

Remote Learning Schedules:

On Monday, July 27, we will share with families daily remote learning schedules to provide a better understanding of your student’s daily learning experience in both the Temporary Remote/Hybrid Learning and BSD Virtual Learning programs.

We recognize there are many unknowns as we navigate this historic pandemic. Our commitment will always be to communicate information to you as soon as it is available. Please continue to visit our Planning for Fall page for more information, and send any questions, insights, suggestions, and feedback you may have to us through Let’s Talk!

In partnership,

Ivan Duran
Superintendent
Bellevue School District