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COVID-19 UPDATES

a message from the super intendent

march 27, 2020 7:15 p.m.

March 27, 2020

Good evening students, staff, families, and community,

I wanted to reach out and give you an update. Our staff has worked many hours navigating the guidance from the state and ensuring we are providing the best opportunities for our students and families. We currently have three top priorities we have been able to get in place; nutrition needs of students, childcare for healthcare workers and first responders, and continuous learning opportunities for students.

Our teaching staff has been working on plans to provide educational services and opportunities for families. We are testing out the distribution of chromebooks to a small control group, so that we can determine what bugs may need to be worked out. I will have more information to share with you on this in a future update. As teachers are beginning to reach out to families, we encourage you to make sure your contact information is current in Family Access.

I will continue to communicate with you as we navigate our way through this process and begin, together, to find a new normal. I have expressed before that I believe the Blaine Way is one of a community that rallies together to lift one another up. I truly believe we will find the best way to provide for every student, every day, if we continue to work together and support one another.

Below you will find a brief message about learning opportunities and resources from elementary and secondary campuses. We put them in this one location in an effort to make it easier for all. Please know our staff is thinking of you and your family, and we are all looking forward to seeing our students soon.

I wish you all good health and perseverance for the times ahead.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

BSD Resources

Blaine School District Skyward Family Access

P-5 Resources

P-5 staff are providing a list of available optional learning resources for you to engage with as you work with your child in the coming weeks. These resources are intended to support student learning in a variety of academic, social and emotional learning areas. We encourage you to explore these resources as you engage with your learning at home. We look forward to ongoing engagement with you as we support our students during this unique time. Please feel free to reach out to your child's teacher with questions about ongoing learning opportunities.

Blaine Primary and Elementary Staff

Imagine Learning - Math and Reading Activities

Readworks - Reading Passages and Activities

Storyline Online - Free Read Alouds

Go Noodle - Mindfulness and Movement at Home

Conscious Discipline - Links to Family Resources

6th – 12th Google Classroom

We believe that meaningful connection and learning between students and teachers is tremendously important during this unusual time. Our goal is to stay connected with every student and give them access to individual instruction that meets them where they are. All teachers will be using Google Classroom as a starting point to achieve this goal.

Using school logins (firstname.lastname@stu.blainesd.org) and passwords, students have access to Google Classroom and school GMail accounts. Students should visit Google Classroom and check for updates daily. Students should also check their recently activated student Gmail every day, and use it as a way to communicate with their teachers.

Yes, we have a lot to figure out, teachers included. But learning is what we are here for, right? Please be sure to contact your teachers as soon as possible if you have any technology concerns, and we will do our best to problem solve.

Go to sites.google.com/blainesd.org/6-12learningresources for more information and helpful guides to our new classroom environment. Be patient. Be kind. Be Strong. Be BORDERITES!

Blaine Middle School Resources

Blaine Middle School staff has put together more than forty optional learning activities for you and your family organized by grade level and subject area. Included are engaging social emotional learning and a wide variety of literacy, math, and science lessons and activities. We encourage you and your family to explore all the learning activities we have assembled regardless of your grade level. Miss you and care about you. - BMS Staff

Grades 6-8 resources

Blaine High School Resources

High School teachers have set up Google Classrooms with enrichment activities that have been incorporated into those classrooms for next week. Students should communicate with their teachers about missing assignments now and throughout this process. Staff are here to help and should be communicating with you.

  • BHS Staff

If your student is unable to communicate with their teachers at this time via Google Classroom, please contact Mr. Ellis or Mr. Vezzetti and consider the following enrichment activities for next week:

Blaine High School Library Webpage -Stay connected to Blaine High School and access the fun, engaging and useful research provided. https://sites.google.com/blainesd.org/bhslibrary/home?authuser=0

Khan Academy - Khan Academy includes math, science, history, reading, storytelling, career exploration, and much more. https://www.khanacademy.org

WOIS- Continue exploring WOIS for career and educational planning. Login as you would in your BUILD Class.

Other Community Resources

Pt. Roberts Resources

Opportunity Council Nutrition Resources

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

MARCH 25, 2020 5:30 P.M.

Dear Students, Staff, Families, and Community,

We hope you are staying well and finding ways to connect as a family unit during this time. Earlier in the week we shared some enrichment activities for you and your student(s) to engage in and we will be sending additional ones to you this Friday. As many of you may already have seen there have been many updates to the guidance coming from the state this week. While initially we were told to focus voluntary enrichment activities and investigate our capacity for other learning avenues, the state is now increasing the expectation to include providing learning for all students. In preparation for a more robust instructional delivery program we are adding these priorities between now and April 12, 2020.

  1. Continuing process of surveying families about access to devices and wifi, for a deployment plan for those in need.
  2. Teachers are meeting in grade level and content teams
  3. Teachers are engaging in professional learning including training on Google Classroom
  4. School level planning for ongoing learning opportunities and providing meaningful feedback to students

As a reminder for privacy reasons school staff may be calling you from a phone number that will show up as “UNKNOWN CALLER” as they are working remotely, so if you have the availability to answer it would be greatly appreciated.

I could not ask to be in a better location than Blaine Washington surrounded by an amazing staff and community that continues to show their flexibility and grace. Please feel free to reach outat any time if we can assist you in any way.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day.

A MESSAGE REGARDING TEACHING AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

MARCH 23, 2020 8:00 A.M.

Good Morning students, staff, families and community,

Below you will find a letter from Dr. Thomas, our Director of Teaching and Learning. She and her team have been working tirelessly to develop learning opportunities for our students during this unprecedented closure. We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff working on behalf of our youth.

As we roll out this first of what will be many communications to you regarding teaching and learning, please remember that for now we want children to work on refreshing, reviewing, and retaining what they know. We don't want families to feel like they have to replicate the school learning environment. Try not to stress. Try to enjoy your time together.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger, Superintendent
Every Student. Every Day.

A Message from the Department of Teaching & Learning

Dear Families,

We love our students and are deeply committed to their learning and growth, so we’re eager to provide support and connect with kids during this challenging time. That said, our top priority must be protecting the health and safety of our community. We’ve been busy getting food service up and running, keeping track of changes in guidelines, as well as engaging in some initial planning for childcare options. This week, our amazing teachers are back working in new ways to provide resources, connect with students and families, and engage in remote professional learning opportunities.

As Dr. Granger shared Friday, our goal will be to offer some optional enrichment activities that help students continue learning during this extended time at home, rather than try to replicate what their typical classroom experience would be. As many of us are parents as well as eduEverycators, we can imagine you’ll be more than happy to have some ideas to keep the kiddos busy! Below you’ll find a link to a message from your child’s principal with some basic initial resources to use with your kids during this time, if you so choose. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we are all working hard to navigate a complex and rapidly changing situation.

PK-5 Message from Dr. Baldwin
BMS Message from Mr. Benson
BHS Message from Mr. Ellis

You can expect to have weekly communications regarding learning resources from your child’s school. Please reach out via email to your child’s teacher or principal if you have questions.

Warmly,

Stacy Thomas, Ed.D
Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
& BSD Teaching & Learning Team

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

MARCH 20, 2020 7:00 P.M.

Dear staff, students, families and community,

It is hard to believe we are approaching the end of March. So much has changed in our community over this month. We are working hard as a district to meet the needs of students, staff and the community as a whole in the form of meals and planning for childcare. We are also working through what enrichment learning opportunities would look like in the ever-changing environment as we prepare for the scheduled return to the traditional school setting on April 27. Once we have addressed the nutrition and child care needs, identified by the Governor as top priorities, we will be able to turn more of our attention to learning.

Free meals for children

It is with great pride that I can tell you our first three days of providing meals to our community has been a huge success. I would like to thank the staff in our district office, food service department, and transportation department who worked to get meal pick-up and delivery started this Wednesday. This is a tremendous opportunity to ensure the children of our community continue to receive nutrition during this challenging time. Meals can be picked up on weekdays between 11:00 am and 12:00 noon in the parking lot between the high school and the new high school grandstands. In addition to meal pick up, we are delivering meals along bus routes for children as well. Please visit our nutrition plan website for information on times and locations.

Childcare

Once we were able to get food service started for the children of our community we turned our attention to the Governor’s directive to provide childcare in a narrow scope of healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel. This task has proven to have several requirements we are navigating carefully with the guidance of the state. As we work through this, please remember this will be a very limited service, and a small group setting is the best place for everyone at this time. Thank you to those who completed our survey. We will have a small staff at Blaine Primary School on Monday March 23, 2020 from 10:00 am – 12:00 noon to allow individuals in qualifying categories to complete required paperwork. This will further allow us to evaluate our capacity to provide this service on campus or through a community partnership.

Continued learning

As we entered this closure at the end of last week we asked staff to treat this week similar to a weather closure. We know at this time we will have to make up days through June 19, 2020. Our administrators have spent this week developing plans and procedures for the extended closure. Early next week families and students should expect to hear from more from principals and teachers through the phone numbers and emails that are on file in Skyward. If you need to update information please contact the district office (360-332-5881) and we will direct you to the appropriate department. One of the items we will be gathering data on in these initial contacts will include identifying family needs around wifi and computer or smart phone availability. We know online learning is not a replacement for the wonderful things that occur in the classroom environment with teachers and students, and we are not trying to replicate that typical experience.

At this time we are considering providing students with optional enrichment learning opportunities aimed at refreshing, reviewing and retaining information. Please extend grace to one another (and yourselves) when it comes to these efforts. While we navigate the evolving health crisis, we need to approach at-home learning with patience and know that when we work together great things will continue to happen for our students.

Please, continue to take good care of yourselves and of each other.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger
Every Student. Every Day.

BLAINE SCHOOL DISTRICT TO CLOSE BEGINNING MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2020

Good afternoon Blaine School District Students, Staff, Families and Community,

We know the past few weeks have been stressful for many in our communities because of the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. We are grateful to all our students, staff and families for navigating this situation in partnership with our school districts.

Today the Whatcom County Health Department made a recommendation to close all schools until at least April 24, 2020 (WCHD release). All Whatcom County superintendents have agreed to follow this recommendation and close schools no later than March 17, 2020. (Superintendent’s release) The decision was made not in response to any case(s) in Whatcom County, but in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. Today’s announcement followed one yesterday from Washington State Governor Jay Inslee ( video link / statement) to close school districts in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties from March 17 through April 24, with the indication that an order for other counties would follow.

As the Governor and Washington State’s Superintendent Chris Reykdal have charged school districts to do, we are working on childcare options and nutritional services. We are moving forward to develop systems to allow for food delivery and pick up for children in our community, as well as providing childcare for those who serve our communities in health care, as first responders, and in other essential areas, such as utilities.We want to do as much as possible to ensure the critical systems of healthcare and safety can continue to respond to the needs of our community. If you are a family who works in one of these areas, and the closing of schools will lead to you needing childcare during regular school hours, please complete our survey here by 8 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 2020. We will use the information you provide to be best prepared to help.

We expect to receive further guidance from state officials in the coming days and will provide updates as soon as we are able. As new information becomes available we will communicate through our website, app notifications, social media channels, and email.

We recognize and understand the multiple impacts this will have on our families. We also recognize our responsibility to support early, comprehensive, and sustained social distancing measures in order to lessen the pressure on our health care system and potentially save lives. We are learning from the experiences other communities are enduring around the world.

I want to assure you this is not a decision we have made lightly or without considerable thought and consideration. Making challenging decisions is a part of what we must do at times, and this has been one of the most difficult. We will continue to communicate and partner with you as we navigate this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

MARCH 11, 2020 7:30 P.M.

Dear students, staff, families, and community,

Today my staff and I listened to Governor Jay Inslee’s briefing on COVID-19, where he provided guidance on ways to slow the spread of this virus, including efforts being implemented in some Washington counties to reduce social interactions. I also met with Whatcom County superintendents today and attended an online briefing from the Washington State Department of Health.

The governor and the health department are asking schools in our area to stay open for now; however, he is asking all school districts in the state to begin contingency planning. We have been planning and will continue to do so. We are preparing for the possibility of closures and encourage our families to begin planning as well.

Schools serve many important functions in our community, and we are aware of the many impacts a closure may have. They are key to meeting students’ basic needs, such as nutrition and care, and keeping our community functional. There is overlap between our health care professionals, first responders and our parent community, and we want to support these critical local employees and maintain the capacity of the health care system by taking care of children, so parents can work.

Here are the actions we are taking:

  • We continue to develop and refine contingency plans for possible local closures
  • We have updated our directives for increasing social distancing. This will affect meetings and events in our schools (see FAQ Page).
  • We continue to encourage staff and students to stay home when they are sick.
  • We are continuing to take extra care in our schools and workplaces to follow the CDC’s best advice for non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes.
  • We are utilizing additional custodial staff to assist with nightly cleaning of schools.

Since Governor Inslee's press release this morning, several school districts south of us, where there are more confirmed cases, have instituted closures. You also have likely heard about cancellations of in-person classes at local higher education institutions like Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College. Please remember that our context is different than each of these situations. What a college can implement is different than what is easily implemented in a system with students from grades pre-K – 12, and the governor and the health department are still asking us to remain open to serve our families.

You can find updates to our new COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page for families and staff, such as:

  • Am I too sick to go to school or work?
  • What are our plans for district and school events?

Our Communicable Disease Information page remains our most up-to-date source of information.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time as we navigate waters which are uncharted for us all. We understand each family's need to make decisions based on their unique situation and will continue to support your ability to do so. We have come to understand that early, comprehensive, and sustained social distancing measures will be important during this time. We believe we have an obligation as a public institution to do what is in our power to lessen the pressure on our health care system in order to have the greatest impact on our community's overall health. As we move forward together, please, make sure you are taking care of yourself and your loved ones at this time of stress and anxiety. It is going to take an abundance of leaders working together to support our community, and we are blessed by so many natural leaders in Blaine to collaborate with in situations such as these. We are truly appreciative of your support.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day.

March 11, 2020 11:35 A.M.

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Students, Staff and Families,

Our staff has just finished watching Governor Inslee’s press release. It is our understanding that there will be an impending announcement specific to education and potential closures, and we are working to identify potential scenarios and coordinating operating solutions. I have additional meetings occurring today, including one with the Whatcom County Health Department and one with all Whatcom County superintendents. I intend to gather information from all available sources today before making any specific announcements about activities or schedule changes.

Keep following the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as washing your hands, and take good care of yourself.

Respectfully,

Dr. Christopher Granger
Every Student. Every Day.

MARCH 10, 2020

A Message from the Superintendent:

I wanted to reach out to you this evening as I am sure by now you are aware the Whatcom County Health Department has announced new information this evening. A portion of the press release included the following;

Today, Satpal Sidhu, the Whatcom County Executive, in coordination with the Whatcom County Health Board, declared a Whatcom County public health emergency to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. In response to the rapidly evolving situation in Whatcom County, Dr. Greg Stern, Whatcom County Health Officer, has also issued new recommendations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The Whatcom County Health Department has confirmed one person tested positive for Coronavirus, improved and was later discharged. The health department did update their recommendations, included in the link below. At this time they are not recommending the closure of schools, but are recommending the cancelation or postponement of non-essential large public gatherings (groups of 10-50 or more).

https://www.whatcomcounty.us/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1644

Our leadership team and I are participating in a health department update in the morning. We will plan to announce any impacted events for this week by the end of the day tomorrow and I will continue to keep you informed.

Respectfully,

Dr. Christopher Granger

Every Student. Every Day.


THURSDAY, MARCH 05, 2020

A Message from the Superintendent

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

As of the latest Whatcom County Health Department briefing at 3:00 p.m. today, there are NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Whatcom County. We know as the global circumstances are reaching close to home people are becoming more concerned about the virus. I want to assure you that Blaine School District staff members are continuing to work diligently to monitor the situation, are following all recommendations by the health department, and are preparing for multiple possible scenarios.

Some of you have reached out to us regarding your concerns about potential illnesses and the impacts they could have on your families. Although health jurisdictions are currently recommending against the closure of schools, we understand and support each family’s need to make decisions based on what is best in your unique situation. We are following normal communication procedures for absences and ask that you communicate any absences to your child’s school.

There has also been some concern expressed regarding events and activities. At this time there are no planned cancellations, however we are reevaluating these daily and will announce any schedule changes immediately.

The care and safety of our students and staff remains my top priority, and I will continue to communicate with you as this situation develops.

Respectfully,

Dr. Christopher Granger
Every student. Every day.

MONDAY, MARCH 02, 2020

A Message from the Superintendent:

Good Evening,

As we make our way through this evolving, fast-changing situation that surrounds COVID-19, I have decided I would like to err on the side of over-communicating with our staff, students, families and communities. So, although there is nothing new to report as to the status of COVID-19 in our community or even in the larger community of Whatcom County, I still wanted to reach out to you and provide my assurance that we are continuing to closely monitor the situation.

As of this time, the message remains that of a focus on slowing the spread of the virus through NPI's (non-pharmaceutical interventions) such as, regular and repeated hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow, and staying home when ill. Eating fruits and vegetables and drinking extra fluids are other ways to keep your body healthy and help it fight off infection.

Tomorrow afternoon I, and a team of district staff, will participate in the latest briefing from the Whatcom County Health Department, this one specifically directed towards schools and the unique concerns the education community is facing. We are continuing to work closely and in conjunction with the Health Department to ensure we are doing everything possible to best protect the health and well being of our staff, students and community.

Respectfully,

Dr. Christopher Granger
Every student. Every day.