Superintendent's Message March 26, 2021

Good evening students, staff, families and community,

Review of New 3-Foot Distancing Option
We were excited to hear the new guidance from the Governor on social distancing, and we will be meeting with the Health Department to review this option on Tuesday, March 30. While we are thankful to be relieved of the 6-foot requirement, it is important to note that a 3-foot requirement does not allow us to double our classroom capacities. It does, however, increase the number of desks in each classroom by 5-9 on average. This option presents us with the pleasure of being able to return all current hybrid students to additional in-person learning in the coming weeks. I know the next question is, “When can this happen?” Please know that we are working diligently to get all requirements in place so that we can take this step safely. As an important safety measure, to keep schools running smoothly, we must ensure that staff members receiving their second vaccine next week will be fully vaccinated (2 weeks after second shot) before this change. We hope to announce a firm date before Spring Break. We are so fortunate to have local labor groups working collaboratively alongside the school district to provide this increased in-person learning time for our hybrid students.  

Although students can now sit only 3 feet from each other in class, the definition of a close contact has not changed (i.e. being within 6 feet for 15 or more minutes in a 24 hour period). Parents should be aware that students will be excluded from in-person attendance if they have to quarantine after being in close contact with a positive case. Attending online continues to be an option for students who are in quarantine. It will be as important as ever for students to stay home when they are sick.

With every new guidance also comes logistical challenges which we will be working to address in the coming weeks. Inside classrooms, 6 feet of distance must still be maintained between the teacher and students. In addition, if community transmission rises to a high level, students in grades 6-12 must return to a 6-foot distance in the classroom setting. Outside of classrooms, 6 feet of distance is still required in other spaces such as cafeterias and gyms, etc. Despite the many challenges, we remain committed to focusing on what is possible and finding ways to provide students with the best opportunities we can.

How can you help?  I am so glad you asked.  
We know many of you are also excited about the possibilities ahead and may wonder, “What can I do to help?” With transporting students remaining a significant challenge, here are ways you can help us in getting more students to the building: 

  • Parents who are able to transport their own children are encouraged to do so to help us address the transportation needs of other families. 
  • School bus drivers are needed. If you or anyone you know is interested in subbing or working for the District as a school bus driver, we cover the CDL training and test, first aid class and DOT physical. Email your contact information to transportation@blainesd.org for more details.

Planning Update for 2021-2022
The CDC’s new 3-foot guidance is very helpful as we plan for the 2021-2022 school year. We continue to plan for the return of all students to full-time instruction every day in the fall. Under the new guidance, we will be able to build schedules differently than in the current year, based upon a known class capacity with 3-foot distancing. In order to assist us in this planning process, parents will be asked in May to choose the learning option that is best for their student. Knowing how many students are interested in an online option will help us make educated decisions about the offerings we can reasonably provide. 

Season 2 of BHS Athletics is Underway
It is great to see our Borderites back in action on the fields around the district. It has also been wonderful to see our tremendous indoor facilities in use during the 6 weeks of Winter Season. We are now moving outdoors for Spring Season over the next 6 weeks. Check out https://goborderites.com for event schedules, photos and other information.

Upcoming Events

  • Community Q&A: We invite you all to join us on Monday, March 29, at 6:00pm for our next Community Q&A on Zoom!
  • School Board Candidate Information Discussion: Any registered voter, living within the boundaries of a director district, is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. Information about open board positions will be posted on our News Feed next week. On Monday, April 12, at 6:00pm there will be a discussion opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about service as a Board Director. Please call the District Office at 360-332-5881 to preregister for this in-person event.
  • Student Support Services Feedback Forum: If your student is receiving additional support through programs such as an IEP, 504 or others, please join us on Monday, April 19, at 6:00pm for a Zoom webinar about the work the district has been doing and things ahead.   

It is great to share some exciting news this week and progress ahead. As always, it’s a great night to be a Borderite and a great night to be your superintendent.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger
Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!