June 26, 2020
Dear Parents and Families,
As you can imagine, the reopening of schools this fall is dominating much of the work that will occur at the district this summer. The state has announced schools will reopen using guidelines provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Labor & Industries. The safety guidelines are significant and we are working hard to figure out how to open school next year under these new rules.
We are planning to start school with all our kids in class, but are preparing for different options should conditions and state guidance dictate the need for an alternative approach. Present guidance from the state includes an assurance of social distancing and cloth face coverings for all staff and students (with a few exceptions). Frequent hand washing, increased frequency of facility cleaning, and health screening of individuals who enter our facilities are also being included in our planning efforts. Adhering to the social distancing guidelines outlined by the state is proving to be very difficult, particularly for our middle and high school students.
The other options we are preparing for are a “hybrid option” in which students would be split into two groups. Each group of students would receive a combination of in person instruction (likely two days a week) and remote instruction (likely three days a week). This option may be necessary if we are unable to adhere to the state’s social distancing requirements.
We are also planning for a full Remote Learning option should the state close schools this fall. In this option, we are determining ways to improve the delivery of the instruction, the quality of the assignments given, and the consistency of the expectations and format for remote learning. We are also working on the creation of a remote learning option for families who are not comfortable with their children returning to face-to-face learning due to health concerns related to COVID 19.
We will do all we can to assure a return to school that is as “normal” as possible while instituting practices that assure the health and safety of our students and staff. To help us with the planning, we have formed a steering committee and four sub-committees that include parents, teachers, nutrition workers, administrators and union representatives.
During this highly uncertain time, one thing is certain – the district will be prepared to start school in the fall with flexible plans that can be implemented quickly. We anticipate spending considerable effort communicating those plans to our families and the community in early August.
Thank you for supporting our schools.
Dan Zorn, Superintendent
Longview Public Schools