Updates

July 31, 2020

Dear Arlington Families and Staff,

I hope you are finding time to enjoy this beautiful summer weather and you are staying safe and healthy.

Last night, the Reopening Arlington Schools 2020 (RAS20) District Committee, comprised of students, staff, parents and community members, finalized a recommendation proposing a six step reopening plan for Arlington Public Schools for the 2020-21 school year. The recommendation includes beginning the school year on step three with enhanced distance learning 2.0 for all students which will be greatly improved from the distance learning that took place in the spring and will include teacher and parent training. Step three does provide an opportunity for students identified with the highest needs to access weekly in-person support in groups of five students or less as determined by a district or school team.

In order to determine the appropriate step to start schools in the fall, the RAS20 Committee considered many factors including the strong recommendation and warning by Dr. Christopher Spitters, the Snohomish Health Officer, which was released by the Snohomish Health District this week. Dr. Spitters stated that beginning in-person school presents a significant risk to the health of students, staff, and our community. The health and safety of our staff and students is a top priority for Arlington Schools.

The six step reopening plan is a progressive continuum where the ultimate goal is five days of in-person instruction when the COVID-19 transmission rates in our community and county show sustained improvement. A hybrid model is included in step five of the six step reopening plan. Movement from step to step will include consideration of health metrics and other criteria.

The proposed plan recommendation will be discussed at a special board study session on Monday, Aug. 3 at 4:00 pm and at the regular board meeting on Monday, Aug. 10 at 6:00 pm, when a final decision will be made.

It is our greatest desire to have students return to five days of in-person instruction as soon as possible. We understand that our decisions have impacts on families, students, staff and the community. Our Strategic Plan calls for us to not only increase student learning but to do so in a safe and caring environment.

Thank you for your patience and support in this time, when choices are hard and less than ideal. Your partnership is valued and appreciated.

Passionate for Student Learning,

Chrys

Dr. Chrys Sweeting
Superintendent
Arlington Public Schools

Stepping Graphic

July 17, 2020


In early June, the district formed the Reopening Arlington Schools (RAS20) committee to develop a reopening plan for our schools this fall. This committee – comprised of students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and community members – is engaged in this challenging work. We are grateful for all serving on this committee as well as the many staff, families and students who completed the recent surveys. We are now forming additional technical work groups to address specific areas of planning.

As we plan, student and staff health and safety is a top priority. It is important you know, that at this time, Arlington Public Schools and all schools in the state are barred from providing full-time, face-to-face instruction five days a week for all students. This is based on mandates from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in the Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide. The OSPI Planning Guide includes guidance from the Department of Health, Labor and Industry, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control which includes constraints and considerations on physical interactions. All of these organizations provide guidelines on how to achieve Worksite and Employee Health and Safety Requirements. These rules include requirements for us to:

- Maintain a minimum six-foot physical distancing between all employees, students, and others to the maximum extent feasible;
- Ensure increased hand hygiene for everyone;
- Require all employees and students to wear cloth face coverings and use other personal protective equipment (PPE) as appropriate;
- Conduct daily health screenings that include a temperature check of all staff and students who will be in a district facility prior to the start of each school/work day;
- Limit access to our buildings for non-essential business; and
- Increase building cleaning and sanitizing.

Engaging students in learning, either in-person, remotely, or in a hybrid model, is complex work, especially in an environment with an evolving global pandemic. Our plan will include providing rich educational experiences that also support social-emotional-physical health.

In the next week or so, we will share more information regarding the Reopening Arlington Schools plan and the specific learning models for the fall. We will ask for additional feedback from you. Please watch for a message in the next week or so. Your participation and feedback are key to informing the RAS20 committee, technical work groups and the Board to confirm our reopening plan for the 2020-21 school year. We will have a recommendation for the School Board to consider at their Aug. 10 Board Meeting.

Thank you to everyone for your patience and feedback. We will share more information soon. You can view other updates on the front page of the district website at www.asd.wednet.edu.