Dear Meridian Families, Students, and Staff,

As the 2020–2021 School Year approaches we have closely monitored the development of COVID-19 both locally, and across our nation. Over the past few months, we have connected with parents, teachers, and administrators to hear thoughts and perspectives on reopening schools. We have worked with local partners to process health and safety concerns while balancing the needs of our community. After all of this, we used the information to create a variety of models and then surveyed our community to see which model would be best for our students, families, and staff. We are now in a place to recommend the Meridian School District reopening plan.

This past week, we shared this process and all of our reopening options with the MSD Board of Directors and during Monday’s community conversation. In each meeting, we presented a hybrid model that included a rotation of days at school and days spent doing remote learning

and an enhanced remote model which would have students distance learning full time. While the hybrid model allowed for partial in-person contact with students, it also presented significant safety and logistical challenges.

Key health measures in Whatcom County and Washington State are not improving, with the rate of infection consistently high in the Meridian School District. This afternoon, the Whatcom County Department of Health released a statement that it is not safe to start school in person this fall. Based on this recommendation and other factors, we have determined that a K-12 full remote instructional model is the best and safest decision for our community at this time.

We acknowledge the burden of remote learning places on many of our families. We also know that this must look different than it did in the spring and we will work to create the best possible educational experience for your children and families. There are still details to refine and additional planning must occur before school starts, such as:

  • Attendance – Daily attendance will be taken and learning will be structured to meet state requirements.
  • Feedback – Students and families can expect regular feedback, contact, and outreach from teachers.
  • Instruction – Synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences will be included, which will incorporate technology-based and non-digital lesson activities.
  • Equity and Access – There will be opportunities for students with unique needs to engage with teachers in-person, adhering to state, and local health guidance.
  • Meals – Regular meals will be provided to students.
  • Access and Connectivity – We will provide Chromebooks and hotspots to address issues of access and connectivity.
  • Professional learning – Staff will be supported with professional learning for best practices around remote teaching and learning.

Ensuring consistency for the beginning of school is important for both student learning and family planning. Our intention is to return to campus as soon as it is safe to do so. On Thursday, we will be sharing a survey with families requesting feedback for each student. These survey results will help us effectively plan for our fall staffing and student schedules.

We will continue to provide updates via Skyward, superintendent updates, and social media posts. Please call 360-398-7111 or email communications@meridian.wednet.edu for additional information. We appreciate your patience and grace as we navigate this difficult situation.

Thank you,

James Everett