The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Students returning soon to Naselle schools

 

September 3, 2020



Naselle-Grays River School District classes will resume the week of Sept. 14

Following is an outline of the district's plan to educate students during the covid-19 pandemic.

Superintendent of schools Lisa Nelson specified that there will not be any mandatory screening for covid-19 as a prerequisite for attending school. Those that do attend school must have all their vaccinations as required by the State of Washington.

The district has decided to delay the start of school for students until Sept. 14 to better prepare their staff and families for new safety protocols and online learning. Students still have the options to 1) attend school on campus two days per week or 2) to stay home and partner with them for blended or online learning. Nelson also said that there are many who strictly homeschool.

The goal is to resume fully on-campus learning as soon as safely possible, so they will continue to evaluate when students can safely return, Nelson said.

Staff have divided students into A and B groups based in part on the area bus routes. Some adjustments have been made to balance class numbers and to help them comply with social distancing guidelines. Nelson also said that the 300 students in the school will be divided into two groups. The A group will attend school on Monday and Tuesday, while the B group will attend on Thursday and Friday. The school day will be shortened. Students will begin arriving between 8:35 and 8:40 a.m. and be released at 3:00 p.m.

The longer bus routes have been shortened in order to reduce numbers and to decrease time on the bus. Staff will communicate transportation schedules in early September.

Students who drive or are dropped off by family will enter the double doors to the commons at staggered times. Staff members will be stationed by each entrance to collect parent attestation forms and to conduct a quick health screening. Parents will be required to submit a paper or digital attestation form each day that affirms that their students are free of any covid-19 symptoms or exposure. Students will not be allowed to get on a bus or enter the school without this attestation form. It is also very important that parents keep students home when they are ill. Any presence of covid-19 on the campus could require administrators to close school. The school staff will follow these same guidelines. If students exhibit signs of illness at school, someone will have to pick them up from school immediately.

District officials will continue to communicate their plans as they evolve in the days ahead. For help with the online registration process, one can contact Rachel Suomela at rsuomela@naselleschools.org or 360-670-0210. She can also verify information by phone and send a prefilled form if needed. Remind is a communication tool that can be linked to cell phones or email and will be used to send out reminders and updates. For more information about Remind or to sign up for the app, contact Rose Nisbet at rnisbet@naselleschools.org or Edie Glenn at eglenn@naselleschools.org.

The school is inviting families to the school between Sept. 9-11 for orientation to their new procedures, conferences with teachers, screening and assessments, and to pick up technology. School staff members have been meeting throughout the summer in order to better deliver and support distance learning. In early September, they will share structured daily and weekly learning expectations for students in grades K-12. They have purchased a variety of online resources; they will continue to train their staff, and they will dedicate staff members to support students' learning at home.

Teachers will also record some of their lessons so that one can access them at different times. They will conduct Zoom meetings on Wednesdays and remain available to support learning in various ways.

There are some things that will look different at school this fall. Students and staff will be required to wear face masks at all times while inside the building (and on buses) and maintain at least six feet of social distance. They will not be able to have visitors and volunteers in their classrooms and hallways. They are going to minimize transitions and student gatherings in the older grades. They will take some precautions during breakfast and lunch to maintain safe distances.

Nelson said that they will not serve hot lunches but will provide brown bag lunches that still meet the nutritional standards for the children. Students and staff will be asked to wash and sanitize their hands frequently. Staff will provide mask breaks where possible, as well as some structured recess and other activities.

Here are some suggested things that can be done to prepare students for school.

Practice wearing face masks and gradually increase the time. They know that wearing masks will not be easy for some students. Exceptions for face masks are only allowed for clearly documented medical reasons and will require a doctor's note.

Prepare students for social distancing. They will have to keep students six feet apart and not allow physical contact or sharing of items. They know this will not feel natural, but to emphasize the importance of hand hygiene and proper sneezing and coughing, they will have an ample supply of soap and hand sanitizer for students and staff. Students may still bring their own if they wish.

Prepare them for having to check in with their teachers daily and to fully engage in learning activities when at home.

This is not the way that any of them wants to do school, Nelson said, but they are excited to have their students back on campus, but must comply with federal, state, and local guidelines.

For further information, contact the Naselle-Grays River Schools 793 State Route 4, Naselle, WA 98638, or call (369) 484-7121 or FAX at (360) 484-3191.

 

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