Update on On-Site vs Remote Learning
I am not sure how many of you watched or listened to the Governor's news conference the other day. The focus was on getting kids back into schools. There are a couple of new documents (which I am attaching below for you to review). One is focused on guidance for re-opening schools and the other is the Decision Tree from the Dept of Health, which indicates the details of schools functioning during periods of low, moderate, and high COVID activity rates. I am attaching an overview picture of that because it is the simplest way to understand the categories that we will follow (based on guidance from the Archdiocese of Seattle).
As you can see from the photo, the new activity rate categories are:
- Under 50 cases/100,000 (Low)
- 50 - 350 cases/100,000 (Medium)
- Greater than 350 cases/100,000 (High)
There is also a look at test positivity rates and trends in cases/hospitalizations to consider under this new metric.
Currently, our case rate for the last 14 days is 522/100,000. So, we are definitely up in the high category. I have been working with the teachers for the past 2 days to determine how we want things to look once the kids come back. Some considerations that we have focused on are:
- Academic Needs
- Social/Emotional Wellness
- Health and Safety of Staff, Students, Families
- Feasibility of On-Site vs Remote Instruction, Based on Class Sizes (Max of 15 per Decision Tree)
- Presence of Current COVID Cases in our Community
- Demographics and Risk Factors of our School
- Parent Schedules, Logistical Concerns (Long-Term Planning?)
There are so many things to consider and we also want to factor in the unknown of what will happen to case counts and positivity rates between now and Jan. 4th (or even the 19th). So, please know that we are doing our very best to make the appropriate decisions for student growth and the health and safety of all involved. With that in mind, here is the plan, based on the information we have at this point:
- Pre-K and K will come back on Jan. 4th. All other grades will continue to be fully remote, as we have done since Thanksgiving. This will allow for the Christmas/New Years COVID cases to emerge with limited risk to our staff and students/families.
- Beginning Jan. 19th, Grades 1 and 2 will come back as full on-site classes Mon - Fri from 8 am - 3 pm. Grades 3 - 8 will go to a hybrid model with a mixture of learning remotely and on-site. Cohorts must be 15 students or smaller. The teachers will send specific details out to you very soon, so that you will know what the plan is for hybrid/cohorts in grades 3 - 8 once we get to Jan. 19th.
- Once our case counts get under 350/100,000 and we see that this can last, we will be able to begin bringing back grades 3 -8. This will likely happen over the period of a couple of weeks, in a phased approach.
Please let me know if you have questions on any of this. I know it can get confusing. Like I said, it is a balancing act and we are doing our best to get the kids back as soon as it is safe to do so (and making sure we meet the state guidelines). One thing to consider is that it takes several days for us to get testing results back whenever a staff member has COVID symptoms. During that time, they cannot be on site to teach. So, that causes logistical issues. We also are mindful of how changes impact parents' schedules and we would like to try to make some long-range plans that can stay until the end of this school year (wouldn't that be great!!). Hopefully, by the time we get to mid-January, COVID testing result times will be better and case counts will reduce. You can do your best to help us get back in school by:
- Limiting gatherings to people in your immediate "bubble"
- Routinely wearing face coverings
- Cleaning/sanitizing hands
- Maintaining social distancing
- Staying home when you are sick
Thank you to all who are helping us stem the tide of this recent surge. I know it has been a difficult time, but we long to be back together again as soon as possible.
Blessings to all of you during this beautiful season of Advent and Christmas. Love and safety to you and your family.