Greetings Meridian Students, Families, and Staff.

As I have shared often these past two weeks, the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak change often and rapidly. We are working hard to address them in a safe and equitable manner with guidance from our health professionals and government leaders. Up to yesterday afternoon the recommended strategy to address virus infections has been to isolate an individual and have them seek treatment while also reinforcing and reminding everyone to continue their practice of good hygiene.

Our actions have been to keep our students, staff and community safe, given our best knowledge and collective thinking at the time. As I mentioned above, the strategy put forth by the Whatcom County Department of Health has pivoted. Their recommendation is to now increase opportunities of social distancing – a term shared in Governor Inslee’s address. We have seen colleges, cities, and corporations closing down or moving to different methods of work to participate in the strategy of social distancing.

Many of you shared your concern for the close-knit nature of schools as we worked through our own cancelation and resumption of school this week. The shift in the strategy to subscribe to social distancing now applies to schools. In coordination and with the recommendation of the Whatcom County Health Department, all school districts in Whatcom County will be closed until at least April 24th. Read the Whatcom County Health Department Press Release.

The press release states districts will close by Tuesday, March 17th. In our collaboration among the county district superintendents, we felt it important to allow each district to determine the best date to close. Meridian School District will not be open Monday, March 16th until at least April 24th. We are working to determine how we will continue to support our students’ educational programs, nutritional needs, and possibly childcare. We need time to be able to identify the necessary components to do these well. At this point, we plan to reach out to families next Wednesday.

We know this will be challenging. What we typically experience as being normal has been challenged greatly in the last week. I want to assure you we are looking for opportunities to provide support to our communities, address concerns and provide guidance moving forward. Please know this decision was not made lightly and our ability to respond is in collaboration with many districts across the state. In short, we are not going this alone. This is an effort to slow the virus and keep our health care system from being overwhelmed. Visit the Whatcom County Health Department’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page.

Thank you for your grace, understanding, and support.

James

Dr. James Everett