Schools Don’t Reopen Schools, Communities Reopen Schools… Better Yet, Communities Keep Schools Open: Navigating the Cold/Flu and Holiday Season

A Message from MVSD Superintendent, Tom Venable

Tom Venable wearing a maskDear Methow Valley Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

As we rapidly approach Thanksgiving, a time of reflection and gratitude, I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to each of you for doing your part to help us successfully reopen our schools… better yet, remain open. As we’ve stated at all points along the way, “Schools Don’t Reopen Schools, Communities Reopen Schools.”

Schools Don’t Reopen Schools, Communities Reopen Schools

We firmly believe that the successful reopening of our schools for in-person instruction, learning pods, clubs, activities, and athletics has been a product of our community’s careful planning, preparation, and implementation of the recommended strategies.

This inclusive process began last spring with the formation of the MVSD 2020 “Return to Learn” Workgroup. The Workgroup spent time soliciting feedback from parents and community members, consulting with public health officials, and examining best practices happening elsewhere around the world, all leading to the development of a comprehensive “Return to Learn” plan.

Some of the many strategies outlined in the plan include:

  • Daily wellness screenings
  • Stay at home when feeling ill
  • Wearing masks
  • Social distancing
  • Good hygiene
  • Improved ventilation (MERV 13 Filters, Air Purifiers, Windows Open)
  • Increased time outdoors
  • Symptomatic testing
  • Regular staff testing

Ultimately, we recognize it has been our community’s willingness to implement the multiple strategies intended to keep us safe that has enabled us to safely reopen our schools and keep our schools open.

Communities Keep Schools Open: Safely Navigating the Cold/Flu and Holiday Season

We are about to be tested yet again, this time by the cold/flu and holiday season. Anticipating the challenges associated with a time traditionally associated with indoor gatherings, travel, and illness, our team has initiated a similar approach… In preparation, we have been consulting with local public health officials and researching best practices in preparation for what awaits us.

Using the information gathered, coupled with the advice provided by our local public health officials, we are asking for your support by committing to the following actions:

  • Continue to implement the mitigating strategies mentioned above in public places, casual gatherings with friends and relatives, and when travelling.
  • Replace old traditions with new family-oriented traditions that limit gatherings, travel, and exposure during this challenging period of time. 
  • Attend school remotely during the first week following our return from breaks (Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Mid-Winter Break, Spring Break) “if” your student and/or immediate family members have been engaged large group gatherings and/or travel resulting in possible exposure to COVID 19. 
  • Participate in free, voluntary, community-wide testing.

As we’ve stated from the beginning, “Schools Don’t Reopen Schools, Communities Reopen Schools.” With this same approach in mind, we also believe “Communities Keep Schools Open.” Thank you for doing your part to keep our schools and community safe, healthy, and open!

I can’t imagine a better incentive than our youth and their education!


Tom Venable
Superintendent, Methow Valley School District