As I shared just before the holiday break, Governor Inslee and the state Department of Health (DOH) updated their metrics for in-person learning for students across Washington.
The state DOH shared that as we learn more about COVID-19 transmission, we are learning that schools do not account for significant transmission of COVID in communities and with prevention measures like physical distancing and masking (both of which Skamania School is doing), school is safe. Based on the new metrics Skamania County is now in the “moderate” category of COVID-19 activity, meaning that in-person learning for K-5 students should be prioritized. After consulting with the Skamania Public Health Department and the Skamania School Board, we determined that now is the right time to begin a gradual expansion of in-person learning for our students in grades 3-8.
As a reminder, with this measured in-person expansion, Skamania School will continue its rigorous health and safety protocols, including daily health screenings (with temperature checks), masking and physical distancing. We are also taking steps to upgrade our air filters and making some adjustments to improve circulation of the air inside the school.
Our planned in-person learning expansion is as follows:
- Transitional Kindergarten through Grade 2 will remain in 4-day a week in-person learning on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
- Grades 3-5 will continue in 2-day a week in-person learning on Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday.
- Starting Monday, January 11, some students who would benefit from additional supports will be invited to attend in-person classes on all four days. Class group sizes will not exceed 15 students, consistent with state guidelines.
- If virus counts remain in the moderate range in Skamania County, 4-day a week in-person learning for all 22 students in grades 3-5 could begin as early as Monday, January 25. At this time, the class would move into the gym to accommodate physical distancing for the entire class.
- Grades 6-8 will continue in 2-day a week in-person learning on Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday.
- Starting Tuesday, January 19, students will transition to in-person learning on all four days. Students will continue learning in their classroom and do not need to move to a larger space because the group is small enough to remain physically distant in the classroom (13 students will be in-person each day).
Please note that these transition dates and plans may change based on community transmission rates. Skamania County must remain in the moderate COVID-19 activity category in order to proceed with this plan.
We will continue to closely monitoring the case counts and other metrics, collaborate with the Skamania Public Health Department and keep families informed as we proceed.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your flexibility and support,
Dr. Ralph Pruitt, Superintendent
Skamania School District