Dear Meridian School District Families,

With the close of the 2019-20 school year, our team has turned our focus to preparing for the reopening of school in the fall. The purpose to this message is to share our current thinking and ask for feedback in a couple of areas. There is a link to a 3-question survey at the bottom of this message.

We have learned a lot over the last three months. Our goal for next year is to have students on our campuses as much as possible for in-person instruction while complying with health and safety requirements. We know learning happens best when our educators are able to interact directly with their students. We want to thank our teachers, staff members, administrators, and parents for their feedback on this spring and input to prepare these models.

Challenges We’re Facing

While the messaging from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) characterized distancing in schools as simple, the reality is much more complex. Schools are not designed to accommodate six feet between students. We have been moving to more collaboration with tables and grouping students together. Band, choir, CTE classes, and pre-school classes, among other, will pose unique challenges. How will we administer health checks? What will school look like for staff and students who may be at risk? We need to ensure there is time for custodians to thoroughly clean. How will we safely serve meals and transport students to and from school? There are many details to work through and it will be a fluid process.

Guiding Principles

These values are driving our approach and helping us define reopening in the fall.

  1. Provide opportunities for in-person instruction for all students.
  2. Consider social and emotional needs of all students and staff.
  3. Improve the experience of remote learning from the spring.
  4. Thoughtfully plan for unique student needs and populations.
  5. Comply with all health and safety requirements related to students, staff, and community.
  6. Ensure staff have clear guidelines for their job responsibilities.

Hybrid Model

Based on recent guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Department of Health, we have determined we will likely need to implement a hybrid model for most students. Beyond the physical distancing constraints in the guidance, this model provides for collaboration, professional development, and teacher and student support – as well as flexibility to respond illnesses if they were to interrupt learning. A hybrid model is where students are on campus for a portion of each week for in-person instruction and participate in remote learning for the remainder of the week. We understand the challenges this presents related to scheduling and childcare which is why we are providing this information early in the summer so you can start planning. We will make every effort to ensure siblings are on the same A/B schedule.

Technology and Other Important Areas

We are starting our 1:1 technology learning initiative to help with our hybrid model of learning. We will provide students new Chrome Books at the beginning of the school year. We have been adding curriculum, training elements, software, and other supports for students and staff. Additional information will be sent later about health screening, nutritional support, bus transportation, facility cleaning plans, and resuming athletics. Many of these topics are still being examined.

In-Person Protocols

At this time, there are a few in-person protocols that will be true at all grade levels. These are based on the OSPI and Department of Health guidelines.

  1. All students and staff will wear a face-covering unless they have a health concern that does not allow that.
  2. Classrooms and busses will be set up to maintain physical distancing protocols.
  3. Staff or students who become ill at school will be isolated until they can be sent home.

Please read through the following description for each age level and category carefully.

  • We know for some families, September is uncertain.
  • We are asking that all families register in Skyward Family Access for the fall, so we know how many teachers we need to allocate and train for each model.
  • We recognize these decisions are difficult to make in July, but because of the constraints on room capacities, staffing, and transportation, students may not be able to switch between models once school has started (in-school vs. remote learning).

Highest Impacted Students

We are evaluating how the needs of our highest impacted students may be met best in our hybrid model. Students receiving resource support will be served by their resource teacher on days they attend school. Additional time and support may be available at other times based on collaborative decisions made by their IEP team. Related services will also be determined through collaboration between the school team and families.

Your Input

Our work has been to identify an approach to provide in-person support and interaction while also meeting the health and safety guidelines we are bound to follow. We are aiming to communicate the final model(s) by early August. Please know if there is an opportunity to move our hybrid model to a full in-person at school learning model, we will. We will also be better prepared to move to a full distance learning model if our health partners determine it is necessary.

We need your input on a couple of things. First, please identify your preferred option for each of your children. Second, share your hybrid model preference. Third, it may help if families are able to deliver and pick their students up. Please indicate whether that is possible for each of your children. Thank you.

Please log into Skyward Family Access and register for one of the following four options for your child for the 2020-21 school year as soon as possible. The survey will be available through July 13. Please refer to the information above for specific grade level or further option details. In Skyward you need to make this selection for EACH of your children.

OPTIONS FOR YOUR CHILD FOR THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR

  • OPTION 1: I plan to send my K-12 student to school in the fall. I’ve reviewed what the hybrid in-school models are for fall and am comfortable with it.
  • OPTION 2: I plan to have my K-8 student engage in full-time remote learning in the fall. I understand this means they will be connected to a certificated teacher who helps design a learning plan and supports parents as they deliver instruction. (MP3)
  • OPTION 3: I plan to have my 9-12 student engage in the full-time distance learning model. I understand this means my student will be connected to a certificated teacher(s). (MHS)
  • OPTION 4: I plan to submit a Declaration of Intent to Homeschool in the fall. I understand this means my student will be withdrawn from the school district, and will not receive district resources.
  • OPTION 5: There are too many uncertainties. I cannot commit to a decision about school in the fall at this time.

Skyward Family Access Link

If you have forgotten your password please use the “Forgot Password” option and you will get a reset link at your email on file. If you do not have a current email on file you can contact skyward@meridian.wednet.edu.

Thank you for helping us plan for fall. The safety of our students, staff, and families is always our first priority. We will continue to update you as we have more information.

James Everett,

Superintendent

 

Homeschooling

If you wish to homeschool your child, please contact Leslie Pagnossin (360-318-2154) for the Declaration of Intent to Homeschool paperwork. Please be aware that homeschooled students are not enrolled in the Meridian School District and will not receive district tools and supports. Parents should reach out to local homeschool associations to connect with resources.