Good evening students, staff, families and community,
The calendar has now turned to August, and we are just a few weeks away from the return of students to the buildings for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. We are so excited to be welcoming students back to full days and full time in-person learning. We have a tremendous staff who are committed to your students and their success. Those positive student outcomes and the support needed to see that through for all students will continue to provide a solid foundation for our work ahead in welcoming students back to full time in-person learning.
As we continue to navigate the COVID guidelines in returning to school we know there will be questions and concerns. We will continue to message any changes that come up, as we have throughout the pandemic. Anytime guidance is provided to schools we spend time carefully reviewing the impacts. We understand our community is one of varied perspectives, and we receive input from a variety of places, such as emails and conversations with concerned stakeholders. We take those varied perspectives into consideration, and we strive to provide the best opportunities for students that we can, within the parameters we are given.
We have come a long way in a year’s time, from a remote start last year to full time in-person learning for all students this year. This is due in part to our strong commitment to developing solid plans that protect our staff, students, families and community. The collaboration from parents, families and staff proved invaluable in continually refining our protocols. Due to the work put into solid planning we saw a low number of school based COVID cases and close contacts last year. With a solid existing plan to start from, with some adjustments based on recent Department of Health guidance, we are confident we will be able to build protocols and procedures that continue to focus on students receiving the maximum amount of in-person instruction possible. If we focus on the positive and what we are providing our students, we can model for them the power of UNITY in our community.
As you may be aware, the most recent guidance from Governor Inslee and Washington State’s Department of Health requires masks for all people in K-12 schools. This is a legal mandate that school districts are required to follow.
While the definition of a close contact has not changed, there is now a provision for the classroom setting where students who are at least 3 feet apart and masked will not be considered close contacts. These measures together will reduce the impact of a positive case on missed instruction due to classroom exposure.
Additional Steps to Minimize Impacts
The State of Washington has developed a partnership of “Return to Learn” COVID testing to assist school districts in meeting the expectation of timely access to testing. This would also provide us a way to help reduce the lost instructional time for students by working with the health department in the development of a “test to stay” proposal. As it is our goal to provide the maximum amount of in-person instruction to students, we have taken the steps in developing a draft proposal. This would NOT be mandatory for any students, but it would provide parents an option to give permission for their students to have a COVID test on site, and, in certain situations, continue to attend school with negative test results. We look forward to being able to share more about this with you soon.
At this time there is NOT a COVID vaccination requirement for students in the State of Washington.. However, fully vaccinated students and staff who do not have symptoms will not have to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19 and may not require COVID-19 testing. Vaccination status must be verified in order to bypass a quarantine period, therefore the district may request vaccination information regarding your student(s).There are three ways a student's vaccination status can be verified; through their vaccination card, a health care provider verification, or through the state immunization system. We are developing the methods parents can utilize to provide this information and will be communicating this in the weeks ahead.
Once again we will be providing chromebooks to all students for their use during the school year. A new requirement starting this year is that only Chromebooks issued by the district will be allowed to connect to our new student only campus WiFi network. This change will improve campus network security and allow classroom teachers and support staff to provide efficient technical support to students. We will be scheduling days and times for parents/guardians to attend informational sessions and check out their students' devices around or after August 23.
As a reminder the Blaine School District is still providing no charge summer meals for all students up to 18 years of age, or 21 if enrolled in a program and not graduated. Meals are to be picked up on Wednesdays between 1:00 and 5:30 through the summer. Visit our Food Services page for more information.
2021-2022 School Year Pages
Visit our new 2021-2022 School Year section of the website for the latest information. You’ll find pages for each school, information about athletics and back to school reminders.
August 18: Campus Office Staff return
August 23: Family Service Center opens
August 25: FSC Backpack/School Supply Distribution
August 25: Community Q&A
September 1: First Day of School
It is a great night to be a Borderite, and, as always, a great night to be your superintendent.
Dr. Christopher Granger
Every Student. Every Day. In a New Way!