Dear Methow Valley Students, Parents and Community Members,
I hope my message finds you well, enjoying the first snowflakes of winter.
My guess is that many of you have already listened to or heard about the governor’s announcement that took place today, describing the new set of COVID 19 restrictions. If not, I want to make you aware of this announcement and briefly outline what I know and the impact upon our schools.
Universal Application of COVID Protocols
Late last week, in advance of the governor’s press release, officials from Governor Inslee’s office shared detailed information with school officials outlining COVID 19 infection and transmission rates within schools and communities across the state.
In brief, the data appears to suggest that schools who have safely reopened for in-person instruction “and” demonstrated strict adherence to a long list of COVID 19 strategies (like the MVSD), have proven themselves to be one of the safest places within our communities. How? By normalizing the recommended strategies and behaviors necessary to keep us safe within our schools and community.
It was also suggested that given the recent surge and suspected source of the spread – informal gatherings taking place indoors, these same strategies need to be universally applied within our communities, especially as we head into the cold/flu and holiday season. With indoor gatherings and travel often associated with the holidays, this included “strong encouragement” for all community members to hunker down, stay put, and limit travel and gatherings during this period of time.
How might the new restrictions impact our schools?
Based upon our current understanding, the new restrictions will not apply to K-12 schools. Rather, the current WA DOH guidelines remain in effect. However, one of restrictions does include a temporary ban on all youth and adult sports (indoors) and gyms, effective Monday, November 16th through at least Monday, December 14th.
It is also our understanding that school district sponsored childcare, clubs, and Learning Pods may continue, assuming there is continued implementation of the COVID protocols.
Schools don’t reopen schools. Communities reopen schools, (and keep them open).
In an effort to keep our schools and community open and safe, we ask that you continue to do your part. This includes:
- 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 in gatherings and/or travel resulting in possible exposure to COVID 19.
- Participate in free, voluntary staff, student, and community-wide testing.
- Working in partnership with Lifeline, Aero Methow, Family Health Centers, and our local public health officials, we are in the process of finalizing our plan for facilitating student, staff, and community-wide testing following our return from the break. More information will be forthcoming.
Now more than ever, during a period filled with anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, we need to remain vigilant, focused on what is working – the many mitigating strategies we’ve put in place to keep ourselves and others safe.
Thank you for making the physical, academic, and social-emotional health and wellness of our youth your first priority. I can’t imagine a better investment!