Thank you for your support and can-do attitude launching our impactED distance learning on September 2! The first week of school provided ample time for teachers and students to get to know each other and to build relationships and classroom structures that will support learning through this most unusual year.
We want to provide you with an update on our planning for next steps in the reopening of schools. Through all of what follows, please know that our first priority is the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We are eager to see students in classrooms engaged in amazing learning opportunities provided by our excellent teachers, but we must do it in a safe and thoughtful way.
The Washougal School District is working closely with Clark County Public Health (CCPH) and other local school districts on a framework that lets us safely return to in-person education. A key indicator in whether it is safe to begin bringing students back to the classroom is the rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days, in Clark County.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) established a three level system to guide decisions on in-person education as part of their Decision Tree for K-12 Schools. This system establishes three levels: High (greater than 75 cases per 100,000), Moderate (between 25 and 75 cases per 100,000) and Low (fewer than 25 cases per 100,000).
The trend in Clark County has put the rate per 100,000 over 14 days in the HIGH range for the past several weeks. This is not what we want to see, but we all play a part in helping to continue lowering the rate and keeping ourselves healthy, which will let us return to school in-person! We need to wear our masks in public, wash our hands frequently, and watch for social distancing of 6’ from others. Together, we can flatten the curve and get our kids back in classrooms.
If we can get the rate per 100,000 back in the moderate level, we will begin bringing back small groups of students, starting with our youngest learners and those who need additional support to be successful.
Our first step back would be to bring back students with special needs, who will be receiving in-person educational services, which started the week of September 21. Our next step toward in-person services will be to start our hybrid learning program with our students in grades K-5. We will make a determination in mid October, in consultation with Clark County Public Health, on the timing of the start of the hybrid model for grades K-5.
For all of our in-person learning activities, students and staff will wear face coverings, practice increased hand hygiene routines, and use social distancing to avoid close contact. Parents/guardians will need to check their child’s temperature each day prior to sending them to school, and will use an attestation form in Skyward to indicate they have done this each day. School staff will do temperature checks for all students, staff, and visitors who come to the building.
In alignment with the Washington Department of Health Framework and Clark County Public Health guidance, we would continue doing distance learning with grades 6-12 for a time, and if cases continue to decline over the following 3 weeks after K-5 begins the hybrid model, we would announce the start of hybrid classes for middle and high school students. Low-risk athletic activities could also begin resuming when secondary students are able to return to classrooms.
Details about our planned hybrid model are available on our impactED website.
Once the rate of cases drops to the Low activity level and maintains that level for a period of time, the district will work with health department officials on planning for a return to full, in-person educational opportunities for students, beginning again with our K-5 students. If the rate per 100,000 begins to creep up as we implement steps in this reopening plan, we will work with Clark County Public Health to ensure our reopening stays in alignment with their guidance.
Each of us plays a part in getting our students back to the classroom. We must all take action in order for our plan to be successful! Please wear your mask in public, continue washing your hands frequently, and maintain 6’ social distancing. We can do this, Washougal!