A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
JULY 31, 2020 7:15 P.M.
Good evening students, staff, families and community,
As this last week in July comes to an end and we face the final weeks of summer, district administrators and staff are continuing to work hard to be ready for the start of school. I would like to thank those of you who completed the schedule attestation this week to assist us in our planning for the August 26 start date. If you did not have a chance to complete the attestation, your student will be defaulted to our hybrid learning model, and it is likely a change to online learning only will be permitted if requested.
As has been the case since March, things are changing rapidly, and the issue of returning to school remains one of great interest for everyone involved. I receive communication on a daily basis from families and staff who each have an opinion on opening schools or remaining in remote learning to begin the year. Over the past week we have been watching as more and more school districts in Washington and across the United States announce that they are starting the year in remote learning, and I expect that number to continue to grow as the weeks pass. This was addressed in a recent video from OSPI that you can see here discussing fall reopening amid the pandemic. It remains our goal to bring students back to the building safely, but not only do we educate children, we also employ adults, and we want to ensure the health and safety of all in our planning.
A few points of interest:
- Whether we are in hybrid learning with remote instruction or full remote learning in the 2020-2021 school year you can expect more interaction and engagement than existed in Continuous Learning 1.0 in the spring. If you remember, at that time we were following recommendations for time interactions based on an anticipated short-term closure. We have learned many lessons from the spring and are prepared to present an improved model of learning for our students.
- You can expect to have a more structured schedule for your students with attendance requirements that look more like they do in a traditional school model than they did in the spring of 2020. I have heard from many working parents who say they will need schedule flexibility for their student in order to make any form of online schooling manageable with their work schedule. For those families, I want you to know I am working on a partnership this week that could potentially allow your students to remain students of the Blaine School District, but within a new “home school” option. Please stay tuned for an update in the coming week.
- We are working on the logistics to serve our most fragile student populations such as special education, language learners and those with internet challenges, as permitted within health and safety guidelines, which could lead to a progressive return to the school building.
- This week I learned that the State Department of Health is working on new guidance to help school districts across our state determine next steps, but as that is not yet completed we need to remain patient and proceed with our planning.
- We know childcare remains a concern for many of our families. We are working directly with the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County’s Blaine Club as well as local childcare providers on possible solutions. The Boys and Girls Club has published a survey for families to help them best serve your needs. If you are looking for childcare, you may also wish to visit Child Care Aware Northwest Washington or call them at 1-800-446-1114.
As I mentioned last week, I will be returning to my weekly Friday messages, and, in addition to email, they will be posted on the COVID-19 Info & Updates page in the Health Services section of our website, where they can be translated into both Russian and Spanish. Please make sure your family’s Skyward information is kept up to day and that you are following our webpage and social media accounts for the most current information regarding the Blaine School District.
It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.
Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent
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