Tonasket School District

Weekly Update ~ 9/11/2020

"Focused on Learning and Linking Learning to Life"

Be Positive, Be Grateful, Be Involved, Be Flexible

Superintendent Message

Week one - start remote learning during a pandemic. Week two - continue remote but with a major fire, loss of power and phone service, spotty internet, and family and friends greatly impacted by the fires. Wow! What a way to start the school year!


As we move forward with this school year, a key theme you will hear from me is the importance of having grace for all around us. The reality of life is that so much of what we count on as normal can be taken away from us at a moment's notice. We all know someone who has been impacted by the pandemic or by our recent fire, and the impact has even resulted in the permanent injury or death of people we treasure. We never know as we move from interaction to interaction what the person we are working with is walking through and how these past months have impacted them. Having the care and compassion to see life from another perspective, to seek first to understand, is so important right now as we help each other live well during these times.


So, as we all go forward together to make the best of this difficult time, let's model for our students and children how to live through crisis with a practical approach to our challenges but also with a hope that together we will make it through this a stronger organization, closer families, a more cohesive community, and better individuals as well.

9/11 Remembrance

Today is the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against our nation that took down the Twin Towers, hit the Pentagon, and resulted in the crashing of Flight 93. For my generation, it is one of those events that has defined much of our lives. It is also a great time to remember the sacrifice of all of the first responders who ran towards the danger 19 years ago and continue to do so in our nation and in our community as the past few weeks have so dramatically shown us with the horrific wildfires. Be safe, give your loved ones an extra hug today, and take some time to remember the great things about our nation and community that come out in times of crisis.

School Return to Learning Decision Matrix

An updated Return to Learning Decision matrix is below. It has been adjusted to reflect our current plans for reopening and changes in Health Department guidance.
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Dr. McCarthy from our Okanogan Health Department message concerning our recent COVID case data

“The good news is, new COVID-19 cases in Okanogan County have been steadily decreasing over the past couple of weeks. If you are tracking the data closely, you may have noticed that we are now very close to meeting the incidence rate threshold of 75. Unfortunately, we have run into a data issue where some cases were not accurately counted. We recognized this error on Tuesday and OCPH staff are working hard to correct it. What this means is the actual incidence rate is slightly higher than what has been reported recently. Since we recognized the error, we have paused reporting case counts and incidence rates and we hope to have this issue resolved within a day or two.


While the most recent incidence rate reported on our website is 79.6, we believe the actual incidence rate to be closer to 90. We are still on a downward trajectory, and if this trend continues, we will fall below the incidence rate threshold of 75 soon.”

Masking, Social Distancing, and Health Screening

Remember families, that you must wear a mask when entering the school and maintain the 6 ft. social distancing as much as possible. When outside you still need to social distance following the 6 ft. rule and wear a mask if you are not able to social distance.


Anyone entering the buildings will need to participate in a health screening process if they are going to be staying for more than 15 minutes.

Students Return to Campus

We are bringing small groups of students back on campus on September 17th. We will bring in groups of no more than 5 up to 5% of our student population, focusing first on students with the highest need such as life skills students, ESL, those struggling academically, and those with no access to the internet.


Our ability to bring small groups and eventually move to a hybrid model is still contingent on our community COVID cases continuing to trend downward, so please remember to wear your mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.

Monthly Virtual Meetings with the Superintendent

I will be holding monthly virtual community conversations to give families and community members the opportunity to dialogue with the superintendent. These will be informal meetings and those attending will be able to have conversations about the important issues involving the Tonasket schools. We held the first community forum in August with such great success and had 150 people attend in both the English and Spanish sessions combined. I will continue to hold separate English and Spanish sessions. All Tonasket community members, whether parents of students in the districts or not are invited to attend these virtual conversations. The next virtual meeting will be October 7 at 5:00 PM for the English session and 6:30 for the Spanish session. I’ll hold them every first Wednesday of the month.

Enrollment

The first enrollment count day was September 4. Our FTE starting the year is at 974.33. The FTE count last March was 1,078.50. We built our budget on 1,040 FTE. This number does not include our 48 Running Start students. A majority of our student reduction is in our elementary school. Hopefully, when we start on-campus learning we get most of these students back.

What Every Employee Needs to Know Reminders

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