Camas, WA — Several days ago, Dr. Jeff Snell, Superintendent of Camas School District, announced he accepted an offer to lead Vancouver Schools. Snell answered several questions about his tenure and what to expect going forward.

Question: When will you start your new job as Vancouver Schools Superintendent?

Answer: July 1.

Question: What appeals to you about Vancouver Schools?

Answer: I started my career there, and spent 15 years and when you’re in a relationship business and you spend that much time with people those relationships don’t go away. There’s work that I still want to be a part of. There are things we can do better on behalf of students. I’ve been very fortunate in Camas to learn about all aspects of an organization and that happens when you’re in a smaller district so I’m excited to apply that learning.  People reached out and said I’d be a good fit there in Vancouver and I’m humbled to have this opportunity.  It was the right time to consider something, and it’s been a whirlwind and also bittersweet. I love Camas and I love this community. 

Question: What are some of the challenges you will face at Vancouver Schools?

Answer: Similar challenges as we deal with the pandemic. The way we’ve served students has had to change so dramatically and there have been challenges for kids, staff, and families.   All schools want every kid to be successful so the challenges are similar to what we face in Camas.  How do we empower staff to create conditions for students to be excited about learning and be their best? So pandemic response is priority number one. 

Some other priorities I identified in the selection process and what they shared with me is they want a more collaborative culture and a focus on student equity. 

Question: What do you mean by student equity?

Student equity means that we shouldn’t be able to predict a student’s success based on their race, gender or economic/social status. It’s about the opportunities we create. Our society needs every child ready to contribute as young adults. 

For me, I really try to start and stop with student voice. Ask students what is working for them, what’s not working for them. In Camas, we’ve done a lot of that. That empowers a community so I’d like to continue that practice moving forward.

Question: When did you begin your tenure as Camas Superintendent?

Answer: 2016.

Question: How long were you Assistant Superintendent?

Answer: 2011.

Question: You’ve dealt with heavy issues like the teacher’s strike, the Liza Sejkora situation, and a yearlong pandemic. What’s been your legacy at CSD? What have you learned?

Answer: I learned that you need a great school board that’s really committed to the community, that doesn’t have an ego, and wants the best for the children and families they serve. We are blessed in Camas to have a school board that has consistently been that way. They focus on how we best raise our children in this community. We have gone through many crises. This last year has been significant for everyone. Consistent leadership from a school board is critical and we’ve been fortunate to have it in Camas for a long time. I know this year has been hard for people.  I really challenge people to appreciate their school board; they really want what is best for everyone and volunteer as leaders.

We have a really talented staff in Camas and I have been so fortunate to work with these amazing people for 10 years.  They’ve done so many great things for kids. I am grateful to a community that supports its schools and rallies around each other.  I’m grateful to our amazing students.  I learn something from them every day.  I’m proud of being able to be a part of this district. 

Question: What’s it been like to work with parents and all their concerns?

Answer: Why are people passionate about this issue about our pandemic response? They love their family. They want what’s best for their students. They care about each other. They want to be safe.  These core values have sometimes come in conflict during the pandemic because we can’t adequately address them all at the same time. I’ve had to sacrifice some relationships with people because my family wellbeing has been a priority, and I know others have had to make these really difficult decisions in working through their core values of safety, friendship, and family.  Regarding stakeholders that are frustrated or upset about the decisions our district has made, I’m grateful they trust me enough to be honest with me and share their concerns. I think about why the reason for why they share with me and it is because they love their kids; they love their spouse and want their spouse to be safe at work. They want the best for their kids and their families.  When you are genuine about that people know. The majority of people are appreciative of that.  We may not always agree on whatever the next step is, but we do have common ground about the care we have for our families, community and hopefully each other. 

Question: What’s happening with getting vaccines to Camas teachers?

Answer: It’s a really good situation now, as the Governor’s proclamation is making this a priority and community health providers have been amazing. We think we will have everyone who wants to be vaccinated, vaccinated by spring break.  

Question: Given the decreased enrollment, issues parents have with so many teachers, and the curricula, is public education in a free fall? Or is this a bump in the road?

Answer: Our student enrollment has been very consistent over a long period of time (Enrollment data).  With that consistency in mind, what might be causes for a drop in enrollment this year?  I think the natural conclusion is the impact of the pandemic.  Our world has changed pretty dramatically in a lot of different ways including public education.  Bumpy moments like navigating pandemics create great opportunities to innovate for the future.  I believe public education will be stronger on the other side of the pandemic.

Question: What are the priorities of the next CSD administration? How will the next Superintendent be selected?

Answer: Those are questions that our school board will be working towards in the coming months.  We have been working towards a strategic plan for 2025 which the Citizen Advisory Committee spent the last several years drafting and the board has reviewed several times this year.  There is still some fine tuning needed as the district moves forward.

Camas School Board.

Camas, WA — Camas High School Principal Tom Morris announced today that CHS will continue remote learning through March 16. On Wednesday, CHS closed its doors just days ahead of its one-year anniversary of closing due to the pandemic because of an outbreak stemming from an on-campus social gathering.

“Thank you for your support as we continue to work with Clark County Health Services to complete our COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing,” Morris said.

He continued:

“At the time of this release, there are 16 known positive cases and 34 close contacts among youth who attend Camas High School. To date, all confirmed cases are tied to a non-school, off-site event that occurred over the weekend involving CHS students.

“Although Cohort A students attended school in-person Monday and Tuesday last week, we are relieved to report no current confirmed spread of the virus at school. Safety protocols and excellent adherence to mask-wearing and social-distancing by students and staff at school are likely to thank for the lack of spread in our school or classrooms.

“That said, with the growing number of cases, and to prevent the spread of the virus that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they have the virus without feeling symptoms, we will continue teaching and learning through Remote Learning through Tuesday, March 16.”

At this time, CHS plans to return to in-person learning starting Thursday, March 18.

Cohort B will return to Thursday/Friday  in-person learning on Thursday, March 18.

Cohort A will return to Monday/Tuesday in-person learning on  Monday, March 22.

In-person athletics and activities will resume on Wednesday, March 17. This decision is made collaboratively with District leadership and in consultation with Clark County Public Health.


At this time, those who were not at the event, and/or not in contact with someone who was at the event, and/or are COVID-19 symptom-free are considered low risk for COVID-19 exposure.

Students and families, please wear a mask and practice physical distancing, avoid group settings and stay at least 6-feet from other people.

Additionally, please be aware of the following:  

  • Monitor for fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell. *Please seek out COVID-19 testing and notify CHS if your student develops symptoms.
  • If your student’s temperature is above 100.4°F at any time, or you get a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell
    • Have them avoid direct contact with household members and others and wear a mask any time you are in a shared space.
    • Contact your primary care provider or urgent care clinic and tell them you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have symptoms.
    • If you can’t contact your provider and are very ill, call 911, and tell them that you are at risk for COVID-19 and have developed symptoms.

Washougal, WA — Students are filling the classrooms, hallways, and playgrounds of Washougal schools after nearly a year away.  However, approximately 200 students were already meeting in school buildings in small groups one to four days a week since September 2020 for personalized education.

“These learners needed specialized instruction that could not be offered effectively with distance learning,” said Penny Andrews, WSD Director of Special Education.  “Some students had formal Individual Education Plans (IEP), while others either were not able to connect to the internet or not successfully learn online. Our staff worked hard to bring in as many students as possible to support them with their learning goals, their assignments and even some tutoring thrown in there.” 

Noah Dentler, a six-grade student at Canyon Creek Middle School, is an example of the significant progress these students were able to make during the pandemic.  “He is a student that has really blossomed in small groups with in-person-learning,” said CCMS teacher Katherine Baxter.  “The small group offered him a lot of one-on-one support. Now that we are in hybrid, he is flourishing. He is loving school and has a great attitude. He is more focused than he was at the beginning of the year.” 

“It was hard with everything online,” Noah explained.  “Now I feel more confident in my regular classes and I am working hard to keep up on all of my work.”

“The end of last year was rough… really rough, with the sudden move to online learning,” said his mother, Anni Dentler.  “It was so stressful for him that I took him out of the school.  The start of this year was also difficult, with the change to a middle school schedule with more teachers teaching different subjects.” But thanks to the improved communication between parents and teachers, development of a plan and small group instruction, Noah is doing much better now.” 

“Noah started out in the small groups as quiet and shy,” said Baxter.  “He would appear alert, focused and on task, but he was struggling and never let anyone know. His missing work was growing, but now we have a plan in place to work with the paras that helped him get caught up and keep him caught up.” 

“He now only has five missing assignments,” said Anni Dentler.  “And that is such an improvement. I’m proud of him.” 

The small groups allowed Baxter and the para educators to really get to know the students like Noah. “With the first two hours of study hall and Asynch learning, we were able to see what they know and how they learn,” she explained.  “The paras and I were able to see them in all their classes and how they focus and teach them how to start on assignments, to ask questions and advocate for themselves.”

With the move to hybrid learning, Noah and others continue the small group instruction two or three days a week as well as attend school on their regular days with peers.

“This 1:1 teacher support is important to providing them a focus on their learning goals to prevent them from losing ground,” said Andrews. “We have also had an increase of communication with families as teachers develop support plans to meet the needs of each individual student and family.”

“The communications between me and Noah’s teachers have tremendously improved,” Anni Dentler said.  “We have created a bond as we work together to help him.”

“Just the time of letting Noah know how much we all care for him and for him to be successful plus coaching from home, he began advocating for himself and asking clarifying questions,” Baxter said. “He has such a great support system at home that keeps us updated on things there or how he was doing.” 

“We have a number of ways our teachers are working to support students with special needs or IEPs at this time,” said Andrews. Those supports include: joining students in their class Zoom sessions, zooming with them to offer tutoring on assignments and learning goals, advocating for more time in person when students were struggling, request home visits from school personnel when students struggle with attendance, holding group sessions for students to work on collaboration and social goals, helping students access their classroom zoom meetings and assignments while at school, helping students stay organized and working proactively with families to offer assistance. I am proud of our entire special education staff in Washougal. And, by watching the work that Katherine is doing, and how she advocates for students, I can see she feels strongly that students do best when there is a human connection and when the students know that they have an adult who is cheering them on and supporting them.” 

“It is nice to see a child come out of their shell and go out of their way to learn all they can and to be successful,” said Baxter. “Noah is that student. He is a hard worker and has managed to persevere through this time to stay on track.” 

According to Clark County Public Health, Governor Inslee and Washington State Department of Health today announced updates to the Phase 1b vaccination tiers and provided a tentative timeline for advancing to the next tiers.

“We are not yet advancing to the next tier,” the health department said. “Washington state remains in Phase 1b Tier 1.”

Here are the changes and tentative timeline announced today:

Phase 1b Tier 2 – opening March 22

  • All critical workers in certain congregate settings (change: no longer tiered by age; list of qualifying congregate settings has been expanded)
  • People age 16 or older who are pregnant (new qualification)
  • People age 16 or older who have a disability that puts them at higher risk (change: moved up from a later tier)

Phase 1b Tier 3

  • Opening April 12: People with 2 or more comorbidities age 50 or older
  • Opening April 26: People with 2 or more comorbidities age 16 or older

Phase 1b Tier 4 – opening April 26 

  • People who live in congregate housing
  • Staff and volunteers who work in congregate settings not covered in 1B tier 2

More information, including details about who is included in the above groups, is available here:


Olympia, WA — The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released this statement in response to President Biden’s directive to get all teachers nationwide at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine during the month of March.

This is the DOH Statement:

“As you heard today, President Biden announced a directive to all states to get every pre-K educator, K-12 teacher, and licensed childcare worker at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine in the month of March.

“The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) recognizes the importance of vaccinating educators, school staff, and childcare workers. School staff and childcare workers were already in the next group to become eligible for vaccines, and our state was moving to vaccinate them in a matter of weeks. This announcement represents a faster timeline than originally planned, and the department is engaging partners on a robust plan to support this directive.

“DOH is working quickly to get clarity from the Biden Administration to ensure roll-out in our state will result in ample vaccine supply through various providers and equitable access for education and childcare workers. Vaccine supply will likely primarily be delivered through the federal pharmacy program, and the directive indicates all vaccine providers should prioritize these workers.

“DOH remains committed to continued vaccination for older adults and others who are currently prioritized for vaccinations under the current plan. DOH also remains committed to vaccinating all Washingtonians as quickly and equitably as possible.

“DOH acknowledges these announcements may cause a mix of excitement, concern, and confusion for different communities. The department will share more information in the days ahead as DOH learns more from our federal partners.“


Vancouver, WA —  Clark County Public Health reports that the county’s activity rate is 105.4 cases per 100,000, which is down from 137 cases per 100,000 a week ago.

This list illustrates the steady decline since middle January. Recent COVID-19 activity levels (rate is calculated weekly):

  • Jan. 25: 401.2 cases per 100,000
  • Feb. 1: 310.5 cases per 100,000
  • Feb. 8: 262.2 cases per 100,000
  • Feb. 15: 209.8 cases per 100,000
  • Feb. 22: 137.0 cases per 100,000
  • March 1: 105.4 cases per 100,000

The latest daily COVID-19 data is as follows:

  • 31 new cases 
  • 18,408 cases to date
  • No new deaths
  • 223 total deaths to date (201 confirmed, 22 suspect)
  • 237 active cases (in isolation period)
  • 19 COVID-19 patients hospitalized
  • 3 people hospitalized awaiting COVID-19 test results

In addition, the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive dropped below 5% during the most recent week for which we have data (Feb. 7-13), representing two weeks of decreasing positivity rates.

The number of tests administered has also slowly decreased, with about 5,300 tests being administered in the most recent week of data. However, test data is preliminary and may change as additional negative results are reported. 

Clark County Public Health updates this data weekly (on Tuesdays) on their COVID-19 data webpage to reflect the most recent numbers available:

Vancouver, WA — Clark County’s COVID-19 vaccine allocation is increasing substantially this week, according to Clark County Public Health.

This is their statement today:

Through 11 weeks, Clark County received an average of 4,175 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the Washington State Department of Health. The vaccine was distributed to health care facilities, pharmacies and community vaccination sites throughout the county.

This week, Clark County health care providers will receive 14,140 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Clark County Public Health will work with several of the local health care facilities receiving vaccine to refer people from the county’s waiting list for vaccination appointments. Health care facilities will also schedule appointments with their patients.

Last week, Public Health released data comparing first-dose COVID-19 vaccine allocations for 15 counties – the five counties with the largest, smallest and median size populations. The data showed that Clark County was receiving less vaccine per capita than other counties. The disparity was impacting the county’s ability to get residents vaccinated and hindering efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health notified Clark County Public Health that additional Pfizer vaccine was available for this week. Public Health worked with local health care providers to place additional vaccine orders.

In addition to the vaccine allocated to health care providers, Clark County Public Health is sending mobile vaccination teams to several housing authority facilities today and tomorrow. Volunteers will vaccinate seniors living in the facilities.

Later this week, mobile teams will also return to adult family homes to provide second doses to residents and staff who received their first doses from mobile teams in early February.

Public Health continues to work with community partners to plan for additional mobile and fixed-location vaccination sites. Public Health intends to position sites in locations where residents have not been able to easily access vaccine and among communities and populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Vancouver, WA — Clark County Public Health has been researching concerns and questions about the amount of COVID-19 vaccinations coming into Clark County and released their findings today. 

The health department looked at the amount of vaccine being allocated by the state to counties, and compared the allocation for 15 counties: The five counties with the highest, lowest and median population sizes. 

“While Clark County has the fifth highest population in the state, we ranked near the bottom (14th out of 15) in the allocation of first doses per 1,000 residents and first-dose allocation as a percentage of the total county population,” the health department said in a statement. “Through 11 weeks, the state has allocated 45,950 first doses of vaccine to Clark County. That’s 94.1 doses per 1,000 people or doses for 9.4% of our population. The next largest county, Spokane County, has received 30,325 more first doses than Clark County, but has only 35,000 more residents. Spokane County has received 145.9 doses per 1,000 people or doses for 14.6% of their population.”

The counties with the lowest and median size populations ranked higher in doses per 1,000 people. But the largest counties – King, Snohomish and Pierce counties – all received considerably more vaccine doses per 1,000 than Clark County (132.4, 121.1 and 111.9 doses per 1,000 respectively).

The only county in their 15-county comparison that has received fewer doses per 1,000 people than Clark County is Ferry County, which has a population of about 7,600 people.

“This allocation data comparison reinforces what we have suspected: Clark County is receiving less vaccine per capita than other counties,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “This disparity is impacting our ability to get Clark County residents vaccinated and is hindering our efforts to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccine in our community.”


Clark County Public Health has been working closely with local health care providers, community partners and neighboring counties to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible and develop plans for community vaccination sites, as vaccine supply allows. 

“We’re working with community partners to identify key populations who are being underserved or disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, are identifying locations throughout the county where we could host accessible community vaccination sites, and are lining up the necessary volunteers and staffing to operate those sites,” the health department said. “Our biggest barrier has been vaccine supply.” 

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler addressed these same concerns today at a Congressional hearing.

“The news that Southwest Washington counties are being shorted COVID vaccines is absolutely unacceptable,” said Herrera Beutler. “I made this known when I had the opportunity to question Washington state’s Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah today at a congressional hearing.”  

As an example, she said Lewis County has a high population of elderly residents, but in terms of vaccine distribution is the worst in the state’s 39 counties. 

“And Clark County is the fifth largest county in the state, but is ranked 14th out of 15 counties in first dose allocations amongst counties with the highest, lowest, and median population sizes,” she said. “The state has to do better.”

In addition to the efforts by Clark County Public Health, local health care providers have the capacity to vaccinate several thousand people per week. 

“Clark County is ready to expand our vaccination efforts, once we receive the vaccine supply needed to serve our community,” said the health department.

Vancouver, WA – The Building Industry Association of Clark County (BIA) estimates that 35,605 Clark County families will be priced-out of purchasing a home in 2021.

This estimate comes from the newest version of a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The study states that for each $1,000 increase in the cost of median-priced newly built homes in Clark County, 985 prospective buyers will be pushed out of the market, up from 781 prospective buyers in 2020.

“This study illustrates how even a relatively small increase in housing prices can dramatically impact housing affordability and accessibility for our neighbors,” said BIA’s Executive Director Avaly Scarpelli. “Unfortunately, with lumber prices on the rise again and the recent implementation of the Washington State Energy Code, housing affordability will continue to worsen in 2021.”

Between mid-April and mid-September 2020, the cost of framing lumber climbed more than 170%. According to NAHB analysis, this resulted in an increase of more than $16,148 in the price of a new single-family home. Lumber price increases will result in an additional 15,905 buyers being priced-out of homeownership, up from our estimate of 12,612 in 2020.

If the estimates provided by the Building Industry Association of Washington are correct, the price of a newly constructed home will rise as much as $20,000 due to the implementation of a stricter Energy Code, effectively pricing-out another 19,700 families.

When considering the increase in lumber prices and the cost of energy code compliance, a total of 35,605 buyers will be priced-out of purchasing a home in 2021.

This estimate does not take into consideration the other variables that can increase home prices: additional regulatory barriers, labor shortages, and the looming rise of interest rates as soon as 2022. All of these factors work together to prevent families from achieving their dreams of homeownership.

“Our elected leaders need to recognize and take accountability for the consequences of their policy decisions. We cannot complain about a housing affordability crisis and then pass policies negating any efforts made to make housing more attainable. The homebuilding industry agrees with the notion of increasing energy efficiency and working towards more sustainable structures. However, when the families in our county and state cannot afford to have a roof over their heads, it’s time for our elected officials to consider postponing expensive mandates,” added Scarpelli.

Camas, WA — Camas School District (CSD) Superintendent Dr. Jeff Snell said schools continue to open up to in-class learning as COVID-19 cases numbers continue to drop across Clark County. The public also learned CSD is facing a $3.5 million shortfall this fiscal year.

“Clark County Health Department will release the latest COVID-19 data for this week later today with rates expected to be below 150 new cases per 100,000 population,” he said today. “This number indicates that Clark County continues to be in the “moderate’ risk level for a fourth consecutive week. This is good news and reinforces the importance of our COVID countermeasures as across the region we’ve added in-person learning experiences for our students and county rates have continued to drop.”

The school board reviewed COVID-19 level data and the current Reopening Plan again on February 22 and made the following decisions around elementary and high school transition timing and programming.

Elementary: At our elementary schools, instruction will move away from a 2-day hybrid Cohort A/B model to 4-day, in-person instruction on March 22, which aligns closely with the end of the trimester. Schools will still be following the 6 foot istancing requirement, masking, and other countermeasure strategies. Staff will be looking at how to maximize classroom and school space. In certain cases, additional staff may need to be hired to support smaller groups of students. Families who indicate a desire for on-site learning will have students attending on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays will continue to be remote learning days and also used by staff to support planning for both on-site and remote learners.

High School: With cases of COVID-19 in Clark County below 200 cases per 100,000 over 14 days, our high schools will have in-person orientation/small group activities during the week of March 1, and we will begin 2-day, hybrid instruction beginning March 8. Students will have a Cohort A/B model. Note: Hayes Freedom High School is already in a hybrid model.


Business Services Director Jasen McEathron gave a monthly budget status report indicating we are trending to end the fiscal year with a $3.5 million shortfall largely due to the pandemic. There are still many variables at play in the 2020-21 budget including Federal and State relief funding and how that might impact us in Camas. 

Social-Emotional Learning

Assistant Superintendent Lisa Greseth and Helen Baller Principal Melissa Hutton were on hand to share an update on the social-emotional wellbeing of our students. District-level data was shared from our second student survey. Highlights for our students were in the areas of supportive relationships with staff and at home, and opportunities for growth in the way we help support emotion regulation for our students. Principal Hutton gave specific examples of how a school uses the data as part of the overall school plan for social-emotional learning and support. 

Becky Stauffer

CSD digital automation specialist Becky Stauffer received the 2021 Laserfiche K-12 Education Impact Award at this year’s virtual Laserfiche Empower Conference.

This award recognizes influential industry leaders who exemplify leadership within the Laserfiche community and empower others to drive transformation within their organizations. Congratulations Becky!

Noah Christensen

CHS junior Noah Christensen was honored with an MTP award by Coach Jones. Noah has grown a lot over his years at Camas, in all facets. One of the biggest ways in which he’s grown is by not being too proud to ask for help when he feels himself getting out of sorts.

“Noah displays good leadership qualities on the football field and in the classroom and he’s just a really fun young man to get to work with and coach,” stated Coach Jones. Great work, Noah!