The Camas School District provided an update regarding their plans to transition to in-person learning, which is being hampered by increasing COVID-19 cases in Clark County. In addition, the administration provided an update on the upcoming February replacement levy. Here’s the direct statement from CSD:
Transition to Increased, In-Person Learning Experiences
Unfortunately, our community COVID-19 Activity Level rates continue to trend in the wrong direction. This is our sixth consecutive week in the high activity level, which continues to delay our transition to a full hybrid model. Current guidance from the Washington State Department of Health in the high activity level is to deliver learning services remotely and identify small groups or cohorts of students for in-person learning services based on those students with the highest need, such as students with disabilities, students living homeless, those farthest from educational justice, and younger learners. Since August, we have increased the number of small groups for in-person learning services throughout the district. Building on that success, we announced this week our next targeted group will be our kindergarten students in groups of 10 or less beginning November 9.
Why Kindergarten? Kindergarten is the foundation and start of the K-12 experience. It is such an important year for our youngest learners, and developmentally there are opportunities we just can’t replicate in a remote environment.
“Bringing small groups of kindergarten students into classrooms for in-person education is a cautious and incremental approach that fits within state health department guidance,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director and county health officer in a press release on October 25. “With small group sizes and continued preventive measures, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, we believe in-person education is safe for both students and staff because children this young are less likely to transmit the virus to others.”
You can view all the details of the transition plan including timelines, resources, and presentations at http://www.camas.wednet.edu/covid-19/2020-fall-reopening/.
The Big Five
The CDC indicates that in order for schools to achieve the lowest possible risk of transmission, we must implement five mitigation strategies to the extent possible, practical, and feasible, as outlined below:
- Consistent and correct use of masks
- Social distancing to the largest extent possible
- Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Contact tracing in collaboration with the local health department
Replacement Levies in February
Local levies are an essential revenue stream for our district and are approved by voters for a set number of years. In 2017, our community approved two levies, a programs & operations levy and a capital technology levy, which will expire at the end of 2021. Our School Board continued their discussion about replacing these expiring levies in the upcoming February election. Our school district has long benefited from strong community support. That support enabled us to build the district we have today. In addition to local levies, voters have also approved local bonds that have built the amazing schools and facilities we have in our district. Because of the way we’ve scheduled our bonds, taxpayers will see a reduction in their tax rate even with the approval of replacement levies in February. Our Board has explored two options for the replacement levies and plans to finalize their decision at the November 9 board meeting.