Dear students, staff, families and community,
We have completed the first calendar school week of 2022 and it came with many challenges. While we were hopeful to not have to transition to remote learning so soon in the calendar year, the rising COVID cases have had, and continue to have, impacts on our ability to safely operate in-person learning. Although we have mentioned this in previous messages, we want to remind everyone that any student or staff member who has been symptomatic needs a negative PCR test to return to work or school. (If you are uncertain if this applies to you, please stay home and seek clarification from your student's campus COVID team.)
At one point this week we had over 85 pending PCR tests for staff and students.. It takes many people to safely operate the schools. I wanted to share the approximate numbers with you of what it looked like in Blaine School District this week.
25% of our custodial staff was out
All staff with a proper license were operating busses on routes
30% of campus administration were out
Instructional staff varied by building, but every building had multiple staff out either pending test results or positives
Student absences in the district peaked at 16.4% district wide on Tuesday with every campus having over a 12% absence rate.
Anytime a campus is over a 10% absence rate we are to collaborate with the health department, as in the past with NoraVirus and Chicken Pox situations prior to COVID. We will continue to work in collaboration with the Whatcom County Health Department on impacts to school operations caused by COVID cases or outbreaks. It remains our goal to operate in-person learning and we will maintain that focus, but there is a possibility that individual classrooms, grade levels, buildings or a district wide move to remote learning may be required based on case numbers and staffing capacity.
Change is hard on everyone and transitioning to remote learning is no exception. We are working hard to minimize frustrations for everyone, and you may be wondering how you can help. We continue to be in need of qualified substitutes in all work categories. As you can see by the numbers I’ve shared, staffing all over the district is going to have a huge impact on our ability to keep kids in in-person learning. Maybe you know someone who is retired, but might be willing to work a day or two now or then. It truly is an all hands on deck situation, and I hope you’ll consider stepping in to help our students. Please contact Tanya Carter in the District Office for information about joining our team in this capacity if you can.
As of right now, it is our intention to have all students back on campus for in-person learning on Monday, January 10th. (Don't forget - Monday is a previously scheduled 2 hour late start.) Our commitment is to provide a safe environment for students and staff and to communicate as soon as possible if a change occurs. We will communicate through the district website, app notifications, emails, and phone calls as well as updating our schedule hotline, so if you ever think you may have missed a message about schedule changes you can call in to 360-332-0789.
It’s 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!