Dear Skamania School District Families,
I hope you have had a wonderful summer! It’s hard to believe we are already preparing for back to school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our fall return to education looks different than in the past, just like most things these days.
The health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority, along with providing a quality education. With those priorities in mind, I am writing to share an update on our plans to deliver education this fall.
The Skamania School District has been considering several options based on guidance we received from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). In addition, we received feedback from parents, staff, and the local health department who have helped us design our options.
Using all this information, our school board approved the following options for our return to school, which is scheduled to begin on September 2. Our ability to reopen for in-person education is dependent on the progression of the virus. Currently, the virus is spreading at a dangerous level in Skamania County. It is our hope that infection rates decrease in the next few weeks so that we can make a final decision. We will present our final recommendation for back-to-school to our board of directors on August 10 and will notify staff and families of the board’s decision by August 11.
- Option 1 – ALL students at school: All students (TK- 8th grade) are physically present in school, which includes full-time, in-person learning with physical distancing and masks.
- Option 2 – Some Students at School and Some Remote (Hybrid Model): Some of our students are physically present in school at any given time using modified in-person learning. The others will be engaged in remote learning. This hybrid model will be offered if physical distancing guidelines cannot be met for full in-person learning. In this option, we would like our transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students to come full time, given their age.
- Option 3 – ALL students learn remotely: No students are physically present in school. This enhanced learning model will be an improved remote learning 2.0. This will be an option for any families who do not feel safe sending their children to school. It may also be used in the time of intermittent closure/absence due to sickness. The model will be more robust than the spring 2020 model and is being designed with the feedback from families, staff and current research on best practices in remote learning environments. Depending on the progression of the virus, we may remain in this model or transition to some in-person instruction.
- On-line virtual academy:An entirely remote online learning option will be available to families even if some in-person instruction is offered. This remote instruction will be taught by our teachers. Each student will have a personalized plan, based on learning standards, and will be supported by school mentors.
We are fortunate to have a small school with just 70 students and approximately 15 staff. This gives us more options to physically distance and stay safe. In addition, we have four portable classrooms that can be used to further distance students and divide classes into smaller sizes to reduce risks. Finally, each of our inside classrooms have two doors that can be used for designated entrances and exits for classrooms.
I wish that I could give you a clear-cut answer as to which model will be chosen. Unfortunately, as we all know, with the progression of the virus, plans and information change rapidly. It is my pledge to keep you informed as we move forward together. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented time together.
If you have questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Ralph Pruitt, Superintendent