2020-2021 Fall Reopening
August 12, 2020
Dear Trout Lake School District Families,
I hope you are having a nice summer and are able to enjoy some downtime in this unusual time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our fall return to education looks different than in the past. Health and safety is always our top priority, in addition to providing a quality education for our students. With those important goals in mind, I am writing to share an update on our plans to deliver education this fall.
Last week, state leaders and the state Department of Health (DOH) announced a “decision tree” framework to guide school districts as they determine how to resume learning this fall. The framework emphasizes that community transmission must be low in order for schools to reopen safely for in-person learning.
DOH’s “decision tree” framework offers metrics based on three COVID-19 activity levels (high, moderate and low):
- High COVID Activity Level: More than 75 cases per 100,000 people in 14 days. At this level, DOH recommends remote/distance learning with the option for limited in-person learning for students who need it most – such as children with disabilities.
- Moderate COVID Activity Level: 25–75 cases per 100,000 people in 14 days. At this level, DOH recommends remote/distance learning as described above, with gradual expansion to in-person education, beginning with elementary students. Younger students under the age of 10 benefit the most from in-person learning while also posing less risk for transmitting COVID-19 than older students.
- Low COVID Activity Level: Less than 25 cases per 100,000 in 14 days. At this level, DOH recommends full-time in-person learning for all elementary students and hybrid learning for middle and high school, eventually moving to in-person for middle and high school.
Data from the Klickitat County DOH, indicates that our county falls into the high activity category. The Trout Lake School District has considered a couple of options based on state guidance and staff and community feedback. Using the state’s new metrics and our district survey results, our school board has approved the following return to school plan:
- Remote/distance learning: The school year will begin with students engaged in an all-remote/distance learning model. This remote/distance learning option will be an enhanced version of the approach we used in the spring of 2020. Depending on the progression of the virus, we may remain in this model or transition to some in-person instruction based upon our county COVID activity levels and with guidance from the Klickitat County DOH. Our goal is to transition to in-person/in the building school as soon as we can safely do so.
We understand that this decision will require more explanation for families. I will provide additional details about our plan in a K12 alert next week.
As we all know, with the progression of the virus, plans and information may change. It is our pledge to keep you informed as we move forward together. Thank you for your patience as we navigate this back to school 2020.
If you have questions, you can reach out to me. Again, I will be providing more information to you early next week and will hopefully answer many of your questions.
July 22, 2020
Thank you to all who participated in our surveys, and thank you for your patience as the reopening committee continues to plan for Trout Lake School’s fall start. Voices of parents, students, teachers and staff are all key to creating a safe and sustainable path for the 2020-21 school year.
Our goal remains to provide in-person learning for all K-12 students, with an online learning option for families that feel that best fits their needs for Fall 2020. We are also planning a web-based system so that students who must stay home due to illness or quarantining can keep pace with their classes from home.
To ease the transition back into the building, September will likely involve a combination of in-person and online learning for middle school and high school students. This will allow us to welcome back students by grade level groups and introduce updated safety protocols and systems.
There are still many decisions to be made, and we must abide by the requirements of the Klickitat Department of Health as well as the State of Washington. While the situation seems to change daily, we hope to distribute our reopening plan to families to review and comment by the end of July.
June 29, 2020
Our Trout Lake Reopening Committee has met twice to discuss our reopening plans for the fall. In our first meeting, we had introductions and discussed the guidance and requirements released from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Department of Health (DOH). Between meetings, the committee looked at feedback from families, staff, and students. In our second meeting, we discussed our learning continuum model. We are working toward and planning for all students and staff returning to school in person in the fall, and hope that conditions allow for this. Deciding to hold in-person school is just one decision at this time. As we continue to hold committee meetings, I will send K12 alerts with updates and post agenda and notes from meetings on the school website.
As we continue to make decisions, we are asking for you to fill out another survey to provide us with feedback. You can access the survey here: Fall Reopening Family Survey
Resources for Families about School Reopening from OSPI
Fall Reopening Requirements from OSPI and DOH
To reopen for traditional, in-person classes, Washington State requires that all students, staff and visitors to the school must:
- Wash hands upon arrival at school, before meals or snacks, after outside time, after going to the bathroom, after nose blowing or sneezing, and before leaving to go home
- Practice physical distancing (6 feet) as much as possible
- Wear cloth face coverings unless exempt
- Not enter the school if they or anyone in their household has been in close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or has any of the symptoms of COVID-19, including:
- A cough
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
- Use of medication to reduce temperature
- A sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
- Unusual fatigue
- A staff member or student who had signs of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can return to the program when:
- At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery – defined as no fever without the use of medications and improvement in respiratory signs like cough and shortness of breath; AND
- At least 10 days have passed since signs first showed up; OR
- It has been at least 3 days (72 hours) since recovery AND a health care provider has certified that the student does not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- A student or staff member who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 must watch for signs of fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other COVID-19 symptoms during the 14 days after the last day they were in close contact with the person sick with COVID-19. They should not go to school for 14 days.
We, in turn, will have flexible attendance and leave policies, safe drop-off and pick-up procedures, a system to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, and infection control plans for properly cleaning, sanitizing and ventilating the school and buses. Moreover, should we need to move to online learning due to COVID-19, we will be prepared to do so within 48 hours of a school closure.
The committee is attempting to meet as many needs and wants as we can, but must also follow requirements from the state. We have many more decisions to make throughout the summer and I will be sending updates as we continue to meet and we will be asking for feedback as we discuss plans. For an anticipated timeline of reopening work, please visit the school website.
June 18, 2020
Thank you for your flexibility as we work to provide quality education to the best of our collective abilities during the COVID-19 global pandemic. I know the situation has been challenging and I am thankful for your resourcefulness, dedication and care for our learners.
The much-anticipated guidelines for return to school in the fall were released by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). These recommendations were developed in close collaboration with the state Department of Health and Governor Inslee’s office.
General principles in the guidance include that school will resume in the fall, either via in-person instruction or through a hybrid learning model involving a rotating schedule and/or an enhanced form of distance learning. The decision about which option works best for a school district will be left up to the school district to decide, as long as health department guidelines are followed. The OSPI guidance also instructs districts to promote social distancing, screen for illness, wear face coverings and promote good hygiene practices in order to limit the spread of the virus, along with the cancelling or modifying activities that call for large group gatherings. You can view the full guidance issued by OSPI here.
The Trout Lake School District’s plan is to thoroughly review these new guidelines. Our fall reopening committee will be meeting next week to discuss reopening plans. The committee members are as follows: Camden McMahon, Ken BeLieu, Ericka Miller, Timmy Waller, Sean Coleman, Kira Fogarty, Stephanie Rubesh, Amber Basch, Sally Wells, Ian Feinberg, LeRisa Thompson, Katie Corson, Abby Furholm, Jim McLean, Tony Fuentes, and Crystal Lanz. Our committee was based on interest from stakeholders (school board, school staff, parents, community). In the final selection of members, we attempted to represent K-12 students with a variety of staff and community perspectives.
Please know that our number one priority is always the health and safety of our students and staff. This priority will be at the heart of every decision we make. This is uncharted territory and there will be some elements of the plan that will need to be worked out along the way. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this process and promise to stay in close communication with you moving forward.
I hope you are staying safe and healthy and we will be in touch soon with more information.