Update on the Anacortes School District Bringing All Grades Back To Virtual Learning
Facebook Post 11/19/20:
"District returns to full remote learning for all grades
While district schools remain relatively safe, and there have been no outbreaks within our schools, the surge in coronavirus cases in Anacortes impacts our ability to staff our buildings adequately and to provide learning for students. Anacortes saw 47 cases between November 5-18. This is a rate of 204 cases per 100,000 population averaged over 14 days. Public health officials warn that the cases will continue to surge, anticipating higher rates after the Thanksgiving holiday.
“This is an incredibly sad and disappointing decision,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “All of us would like students to return to more in-person learning, but we must and will follow the guidance of our local public health officials.”
As more children and their families are being forced to quarantine, schools find it more difficult to simultaneously manage students’ learning while quarantined and manage learning while in person. Staff from various employee groups cannot report to work, as they manage their own health risks and community exposures. We do not have an adequate substitute pool for the various positions, as the community surge in cases is also impacting substitutes.
“These decisions weigh heavily on all of us,” said School Board President Bobbilyn Hogge. “The board is grateful to our district leadership team and staff for their hard work, collaboration and dedication to students during this challenging time. We remain hopeful that we can return our students to in-person learning as soon as it is possible to do so.”
The district regularly collaborates with its local union representatives, administrators, and other staff to make remote learning as successful as possible and plan for an eventual return to in-person learning when it is safe to do so. Everyone wants students to return to in-person learning, and everyone is saddened that our community faces these unfortunate circumstances.
“Our teachers, and all our staff, want children back in our buildings. We know that students learn better in person,” said Erin Gibson, Anacortes High School teacher and Anacortes Educators Association president. “We are committed to collaborating with the district to ensure success for our students, even in this remote environment.”
During the holiday break, the district will monitor if and when it can return K-3 students to in-person learning, as well as other grades. Using the Department of Health’s Decision Tree, we will be able to reopen in-person learning when the two-week average remains between 25-75 cases per 100,000 people (for Skagit County and Anacortes). We will also be able to return in-person when we fill vacant positions or when our staff are able to return to work because their health is not at risk.
“The surge in cases locally is greatly impacting our ability to keep our building even minimally staffed,” said Mt Erie Elementary Principal Kevin Schwartz. “More of our staff are having to take time off to care for their own quarantined families, and our substitute pool is also limited for the same reasons.”
Effective November 25, the district will revert back to its fully remote schedule for all students.
If you have any questions about the schedule, please contact your teacher or principal directly.
Special Services and Other Students of Concern
Skagit County Health Department Guidance
What can you do?
Update on Anacortes School District Delaying the Return of 4th & 5th Grade in November:
The district’s decision is based on the recommendation from the Skagit County Department of Health, which has seen a sharp increase on the number of coronavirus cases recently. Skagit County is reporting 89.8 cases per 100,000 people as of November 2. The county’s website shows lagging data; however county officials have been in constant communication with the district. In order to move to the next step of reopening, the two-week average must remain between 25-75 cases per 100,000 people.
“We have strict safety and sanitizing procedures in place for the students who are currently receiving in-person instruction,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “This decision is made out of an abundance of caution in order to limit the number of staff and students on our campuses.”
The district will continue to monitor the cases throughout the county, and will reassess its plans, though, based on the district’s decision matrix, it is unlikely that more students will return to in-person learning before January, 2021.
The district continues to provide limited in-person instruction for students in all grades who receive special education services, English language support, and other special services.
Moving to Step 4 update: https://sites.google.com/asd103.org/anacorteslearns/fall-2020
Fall 2020 Reopening information including daily schedules for Elementary, Middle and High Schools from the ASD website: https://sites.google.com/asd103.org/anacorteslearns/fall-2020
Fall 2020 Anacortes School District School Supply Lists: http://www.asd103.org/for_students_and_families/school_supplies
Fall 2020 Special Education Info Session recorded to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYmtq7L9NeY&feature=youtu.be
Update on 8/12/2020 regarding school placements from the ASD Facebook page:
Kindergarten students will not be placed at the Whitney Early Childhood Education Center for the 2020-21 school year, based on financial constraints, space needs, and projected enrollment numbers.
The district will continue to run its developmental pre-school program at Whitney, as well as continue to lease space to the YMCA for their childcare program. Kindergarten teachers and some staff from Whitney will be reassigned to other buildings. Developmental pre-school staff will remain assigned to Whitney.
“I know that Whitney is a special place for our students and our staff,” said Superintendent Justin Irish. “We are also facing several tough decisions this year, based in part on lower kindergarten enrollment numbers. We also want to help the YMCA expand their childcare options, as we know many of our families will have increased needs this year, with all schools beginning in a remote format.”
Superintendent Irish and Whitney Principal Shannon Gilbert met with staff this week to let them know of the upcoming changes.
Principals continue to work through the elementary placement process. Families will begin to be notified of their assigned elementary school on August 28th via email; teacher assignments will be sent out by September 4, via email. ASD@Home will follow a similar timeline.
The Anacortes School District has been holding several Q&A sessions with parents via ZOOM. These are listed as events on the ASD Facebook page.
The ASD has decided to not offer any school athletics/sports for the Fall 2020 season. There will be some recreational opportunities through the Anacortes Parks & Recreation Department.
The Anacortes School District will begin its fall school year in a fully remote model, based on recommendations by the Anacortes School Board. Superintendent Justin Irish provided an update to the board earlier this week, outlining the complexities required to offer in-person instruction, including transportation challenges, health screening, social distancing guidelines, limited space, and staffing constraints. District staff continue to plan the learning model for the fall, as well as support for students receiving special education and English language services.
The school year will begin on Monday, September 14. Families will have two options to choose from once registration opens on August 17: ASD Hybrid and ASD@Home. The ASD Hybrid model will include an eventual phased-in approach to in-person learning. ASD@Home is a fully remote option, with a parent or guardian as the primary teacher/ coach and ASD staff offering support. Current AMS Principal Ryan Pike will lead ASD@Home.
By starting the year fully remote, the district can better plan for an eventual return to in-person instruction, and focus on developing an instructional model that supports all learners. Instruction will look different than it did last spring, when we had little time to plan for the school closure.
Requirements for our learning model will include:
Required Learning Minutes per Day
Student and Staff Accountability
Student Assessment and Feedback
Staff Professional Learning
Online Instructional Materials (new and existing materials)
Phased-in approach for face-to-face
Support for students who receive special education services (more detail to come)
We also know that this poses challenges to parents and guardians, creating impacts on work schedules and childcare. We are partnering with community agencies to help promote childcare options.
We will continue to keep our staff and community informed as plans develop. More information is posted on our website: https://bit.ly/ASDFall
Please continue to join our Q&A sessions:
If you are a parent in Anacortes I would encourage you to join the Anacortes Parents Group on Facebook to stay up to date on the school district and also what's happening in Anacortes for families.
The Anacortes School Year will begin September 14th and end June 21st. Link to the updated calendar here: https://bit.ly/3gaudbr
From the Anacortes School District Facebook page: The Anacortes School Board recently approved an update to the school calendar for the 2020-21 school year.
The school year will now start on Monday, September 14, 2020, and end on Monday, June 21, 2021. The updated calendar is posted on our website. This shifted start time allows us to provide more staff training in September before school starts.
The district is continuing to build its homeschool platform and a long-term hybrid learning model for the year. That hybrid learning model will likely start off as a full remote learning option, due to a number of factors and complexities, and will phase into an in-person model. Exact dates and other details continue to be finalized. We will continue to keep our community updated.
Families will be asked to officially register for their selected learning model mid-August, rather than a preliminary survey this month. The school board plans to officially vote on the district’s continuous learning plan on August 27.
Letter detailing the updates to the calendar above:
Find the full details for current plans for reopening Anacortes Schools here: http://www.asd103.org/news/what_s_new/district_plans_for_fall_reopening and here https://sites.google.com/asd103.org/anacorteslearns/fall-2020
For more family-friendly Holiday Events check out the Skagit County Holiday Guide: https://skagit.kidinsider.com/Skagit-County-Holiday-Events-Guide
Governor Inslee has announced 4 weeks of statewide restrictions beginning 11:59pm Monday, November 16, 2020. You can read exactly what his new mandate entails here: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-statewide-restrictions-for-four-weeks-c0b7da87d34e
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During this time we encourage everyone to be informed and do what they feel is best for their own family. Find more information regarding the Corona Virus in Skagit County here: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/HealthDiseases/coronavirus.htm
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