Highline Public Schools this week said that it’s planning for a return to in-person instruction beginning March 1, and they will also be unveiling some new education options.

“Our plan is to bring students back for hybrid instruction (part-time in classrooms, part-time in distance learning),” the district said. “Our plan follows state and local public health guidance to phase in small numbers of students, starting with elementary grades and students with special needs. Public health authorities are not recommending a return to in-person instruction for middle and high school students yet.”

If public health guidance changes before March 1 due to an increase in infection rates, the influence of new variants, or for any other reason, the district says it will follow that guidance, “as we have since the beginning of the pandemic.”

“We recognize that this situation is constantly evolving and that public health agencies are closely monitoring the full data picture, and this means our plan may change.”

For more information, visit the district’s FAQ page.

“We are excited for two new learning options opening in Fall 2021, Maritime High School and Highline Virtual Academy”:

  1. Maritime High School: The very first class of this brand new school is going to focus on careers in the maritime industry. It will be led by Tremain Holloway, who is currently the co-principal at Highline High School.
  2. Highline Virtual Academy: The district says some students really like learning online, and some staff like teaching online. The district will make online learning a permanent part of the options they provide students, by launching the Highline Virtual Academy.

Here’s a video message from Superintendent Susan Enfield:

Message from Superintendent Susan Enfield January 29 | Preparing for Next School Year from Highline Public Schools on Vimeo.

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Here’s a transcript of Enfield’s message:

“Hello, Highline. We are busy, as you all know, preparing for what we need to do to bring our students back into our school buildings as soon and as safely as we can. But we are also preparing for the next school year for what the fall of 2021 will bring. And I wanted to share a few of those opportunities with you today.

“So Highline has a proud tradition of offering programs and schools that students can select–rather than be assigned to–based on their interest. So we have our Highline Big Picture. We have Raisbeck Aviation High School. And we have our Choice Academy as well.

“But here’s what’s exciting. Next fall, 2021, we’ll be adding two new schools, new educational opportunities for our students to choose from. The first one is the brand new maritime themed high school. So this will be the very first class of this brand new school that is going to focus on careers in the maritime industry.

“It will be led by Tremain Holloway, who is currently the co-principal at Highline High School. And we have wonderful partnerships with the Port of Seattle and others that we know this is going to be a great school. And it’s an exciting opportunity for students to be in the very first class of this new school.

“Secondly, one of the things that we’ve learned this year, despite all of the challenges, is that some of our students really like learning online, as do some of our staff like teaching online. So we want to make online learning a permanent part of the options that we provide students here in Highline. So we will be launching the Highline Virtual Academy.

“That will allow students to take their classes from home rather than coming into a school building. We know that doesn’t work for everyone. But for those for whom it does, we want to make that an option. So it’s another exciting opportunity.

“You can apply, a student can apply, to put their name into a lottery for any of these schools. The deadline is January 31. And if you are interested and haven’t applied already, I encourage you to visit the website and fill out the application so that you can be in the lottery to have a chance at being a part of one of these wonderful learning opportunities.

“And as always, I want to say thank you. Thank you to our staff for continuing to work so hard each and every day, to our families for your patience and your partnership as we continue to help our students through these times.

“And finally, a big thank you to our students– I’m so proud of you. I know this isn’t easy. But we see you. We hear you. We are here for you. And we are proud of you. Thank you so much, Highline. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay healthy.”