On December 16, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced revised disease metrics for school districts to follow when making reopening decisions. View the new benchmarks here.
HSD Superintendent Steve Marshall addressed the new guidelines in his Winter Break Message to families, below:
December 16, 2020
Hello HSD Parents,
On behalf of our amazing teachers, support staff, and school board, I extend my appreciation for your partnership in Remote Learning the past six months, and I wish you a very happy holiday season. I know happiness has been harder to come by this school year, but I hold out a lot of hope for 2021. Given the DOH decision tree updates announced by Governor Inslee this afternoon, I definitely anticipate a lot of change in the months ahead.
Before I comment on those possible changes, I want to first acknowledge a few things that have helped make distance and limited on-site learning possible for our students:
- Your resilience. From monitoring progress to coordinating daily study sessions and breaks to providing counseling services, you’ve been there every step of the way, helping your students succeed. We could not have come this far without the involvement and assistance of our parent-teachers!
- Creativity and dedication of our staff. Given the limitations we have faced due to the pandemic, our school board, staff, and community partners have worked hard to create new opportunities and networks of support for our students in HVA and Remote Learning. Read about a few of those supports on our Reopening Info web page.
- Collaboration with our teachers and classified staff unions. I am grateful for our unions’ participation in designing in-person learning experiences that benefit student learning and social-emotional wellness while protecting the health and safety of everyone in our school community. This teamwork and cooperation will serve us well as we transition to different learning formats next year.
- Consistent health and safety protocols. For months, anyone entering our schools has completed a health screening and attestation, sanitized their hands, worn a mask, and practiced social distancing. While these precautions have not prevented all individuals who already had the virus from coming on our campuses, they have helped to prevent virus transmission within our buildings so far.
It is critical that we have all of these resources and practices in place as we move forward with following our state’s new guidelines and expanding in-person learning for our students. After winter break, we will continue to roll out in-person academic interventions and social-emotional supports for our students. As we head into the Spring Semester, we will work closely with local health officials to safely expand our in-person learning opportunities for our elementary students. At this time, we plan to phase in grades 1 and 2 in early February, with grades 3-5 likely to follow. We did not have any advance notice of today’s announcement so we have a lot of work to do over the break and will share more details about the next steps of reopening in January.
While we don’t know exactly what these steps will entail or when they will occur, I do know that we will still rely on your involvement and the support of our community. Expanding in-person services for students is an exciting prospect, but the successful reopening of our schools will require everyone’s continued adherence to public safety protocols, including frequent hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a mask when you leave the house.
I will end this letter as I started it: By thanking you for all you have done to support your students’ health and learning as well as for all you will do in the months ahead. I wish your family Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy New Year.
Hockinson School District