Given the Governor’s March 13th proclamation, all schools state-wide will be closed March 17th through April 24th to help stop transmission and spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Washington. Monday, March 16th will be regular school day, providing students with an opportunity to gather any personal belongings and have a final “in-person” meeting with teachers before the 6-week hiatus from school. School leaders are busy working on preparing answers to your pressing questions and we plan to release information as it becomes available. Here’s the latest:
- Food/Nutrition Services: It is our intent to offer breakfast and lunch service throughout the closure. We will not be providing the meals inside school buildings, but we’re committed to ensuring all school-age children have access to a free “grab-and-go” breakfast and lunch from specified delivery areas. Instructions on how/where to access these meals will be released soon!
- Childcare: The Governor has directed schools to provide childcare to health services personnel and first responders. If you fall into these categories and have students (ages 3-13) enrolled in Deer Park Schools, and anticipate needing access to childcare during the closure, stay tuned for more information. Over the next 48 hours, we’ll be working on the mechanics of identifying the number of families needing this public service as well as developing plans for scheduling and staffing. It is highly likely this service will begin on Monday, March 23rd.
- Student Learning/Learning Resources: It’s clear that it would be impossible to impose learning requirements on students during this extended break from school. The difficult logistics of disseminating curriculum/materials to students and the inability to offer a learning model that can be accessed equitably by ALL students present significant challenges to learning during the break. With that said, we are considering ways that supplemental resources and tools as well as opportunities for review and exploration can be provided to students. Whatever is offered will not be a substitute for classroom instruction but will help students stay sharp, hone previously learned skills, and explore independently during the closure. Stay tuned!
- Graduating Seniors: We will do everything in our power and will work with OSPI and Washington’s State Board of Education to support the class of 2020 in meeting graduation credits and requirements. As we receive guidance and information from state education officials in this regard, we’ll be in contact with students and families.
- State Testing: The annual mandatory schedule for state testing has been suspended.
- School Calendar: We know the present school closure will last for six weeks – the Governor has indicated that depending on the trajectory of the situation as it relates to the regional, national, and world-wide spread of COVID-19, the closure may be extended beyond April 24. Early communication from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is that we will be in school until at least June 19th. Given the state and national emergency declarations, a number of required school days may be waived. We anticipate clear guidance in the days and weeks ahead.
- Indoor use of District Facilities by External Groups: For the foreseeable future, we have suspended use of all indoor facilities by external groups.
Over the past 24 hours, many of you have reached out to offer support and volunteer time to help get resources to our students during this closure. It’s a sign of a great community that during times of need, people step up to help one another. This will be difficult for many, and I’m saddened by the impact this has on families and kids. That said, Deer Park people have already stepped up to take care of Deer Park’s kids, ensuring we come out the other side of this with a renewed sense of community pride. As for your school district, we’ll work hard to do our part – providing every resource we can to kids and families and supporting our medical community and first responders when and where necessary. For most of us, this is an unprecedented level of disruption and we’ll get through it by working together.
As always, thanks for your ongoing support and your patience as we rally around one another to make the best of a difficult situation.
Yours in Education,
Travis W. Hanson || Superintendent