Dear Families and Community Members:
At a special meeting held on Thursday evening, August 6th , the Board of Directors approved the recommendation to start school online this fall. Although this was a difficult decision, given the inherent impacts on students and families, I believe this was the right decision. The recommendation was based on current infection rates, advice from the medical profession, collaboration with regional superintendent colleagues and the fact that the health and safety of our students is the number one priority of our school district.
In a recent meeting with regional superintendents, local Public Health officials advised that opening schools would lead to significant increases in transmission rates. Local medical experts cited that in Chelan and Douglas counties, COVID19 cases have increased to over 580 per 100,000 people. To reopen schools, the acceptable level is closer to 25 per 100,000. Our current rate in Chelan County is almost twenty times higher. This same advice mirrors Governor Inslee’s comments at his most recent press conference. Simply put, we can’t afford the health risk of opening our schools at this point in time, the transmission rates are too high to safely do so.
Principals will continue to hold Work Group reopening meetings involving parents, students, staff and board members. Based on feedback and the information collected in past and recent surveys, along with various stakeholder meetings, we have made significant changes to our Distance Learning Model for this fall. Distance Learning 2.0 will guarantee a more structured, consistent and richer educational experience by encompassing the following enhancements:
▪ Training: orientation and professional development sessions for students, staff and parents will be held prior to the start of school and include safety protocols, training on how to utilize the new learning management system and assistance with technology
▪ Structure: specific scheduled periods with an identified start and dismissal time; daily attendance will be expected and required. Students will have assignment due dates and earn grades.
▪ Communication: consistent, regular predictable communication avenues for all students and parents. This will occur largely through a single digital platform (Google Classroom). Students will be able to access class meetings in the same learning management system.
▪ Instruction: blend of live instruction, group work and independent activities with specialist and elective opportunities
▪ Interventions: set times for student support and contact with teachers
▪ Equity: consideration for serving students furthest from educational justice in small groups of 5 as per OSPI guidance; decisions will be made on a case to case basis
A detailed “Return to Learn” plan will be shared in the near future including specific schedules for each building, the food service delivery system and other important details. Distance Learning is a temporary, students will eventually return to in person classes with a hybrid model according to the phases outlined by the Governor.
Thank you for your continued support of our schools,
Barry P. DePaoli, Superintendent
Lake Chelan School District