Posted: September 28, 2020

Camas Community,

We are finishing up the fourth week of our remote learning start to the school year. Thanks to all of our students for their engagement and effort, our families for supporting them, and our staff for trying to make the best of a situation that can never replace the experiences that happen in the classroom.

As we previously shared, our goal is to get students back to in-person learning as soon as we can. We are entering the transition part of our planning timeline as we begin to add in-person learning experiences for more students. Hybrid learning blends in-person experiences (2 days per week) with remote learning.

Over the next three weeks, we will monitor COVID-19 activity levels in Clark County to determine if we can start our transition to hybrid learning. Parents will continue to have the option to keep their students learning remotely if they prefer. If we are below the high COVID-19 activity level for the weeks of 9/28 and 10/5 we will start transitioning our kindergarten students the week of October 12. If we continue to stay below the high level we will transition grades 1 – 5 the week of October 19. We will follow a similar three-week model for transitioning secondary students that goes through the weeks of October 19 to November 2 with a full transition scheduled for the week of November 9. For more details about the timeline and rationale please refer to the CSD Phased Return to In-Person Learning Plan.

The transition plan brings up a lot of questions, concerns, and emotions for many people. I want to address some of them in this communication, and also share more information in the Town Hall scheduled for Tuesday, September 29 from 5 – 6 pm. The Town Hall will be recorded for anyone who cannot attend at that time.

To help prepare for the Town Hall, please share your questions/concerns/ideas in this Thoughtexchange which will be open until midnight on 9/26/20. We’ll use what you share to prioritize topics at the Town Hall.

To help us get ready for the transition, we need to know your preferences about in-person and remote learning. Please take a moment to complete the Student Preference Survey by 10/6/20. Our kindergarten families have already completed a similar survey and do not need to complete this one. We recognize that you may need more information to help you respond to the survey so feel free to wait until after the Town Hall information is shared to complete it. We will be contacting individuals who cannot complete the survey to ensure we know each family’s plan.

I appreciate and understand that each of you has a different perspective on how and when to transition to in-person learning experiences. I ask for your help in continuing to follow social distancing and mask guidelines and reduce the COVID-19 activity levels in our community to help us increase the number of in-person learning opportunities for our students.

Thank you,

Jeff Snell, Superintendent

How are you balancing the risks of increasing more in-person learning compared to the risks of remaining in remote learning?
There are risks and costs associated with any plan for schools this fall. Plans that have the lowest health risk when dealing with COVID-19 often come at the highest educational cost in terms of social, emotional, and academic engagement. So how do we balance this and find the correct path forward for our students?

The first layer is considering the overall COVID-19 activity level in our community. We are currently at this step in the transition process. There are many examples both inside and out of education where increasing in-person activities too quickly resulted in postponements and closures. If our community is at a high COVID-19 activity level, this is more likely to happen and could lead to greater numbers of affected students and staff. We obviously want to avoid this for individual health reasons and also from the logistical perspective of needing staff available and schools open to be able to continue to provide services. Waiting until there is a consistent pattern of moderate or low COVID-19 levels in the community before a large-scale transition attempts to minimize the risk of fluctuating back and forth between open and closed. These kinds of levels have been attainable in our community. Our behaviors can help lower these rates and return to in-person activities more quickly.

Are you following guidelines from public health agencies at the local and state level?
Yes, our planning has and will continue to be guided by the recommendations from these agencies including social distance and personal protective equipment guidelines.  Recommendations and guidelines continue to evolve as public health learns more about COVID-19 so we regularly check for updates and clarification.  In addition to the guidance, we also meet weekly with Clark County Public Health to review COVID-19 activity in the community to inform our Phased Return to In-Person Learning Plan.

What will be shared at the Town Hall?
We will consider the results of the Thoughtexchange to determine topics of high interest from the community. We anticipate sharing more about the hybrid model, cohorts, and health & safety protocols. We will also have a Q&A portion of the webinar. Schools will host their own Town Halls in the following weeks to share specific information for their school about the transition to increased in-person learning experiences.

What if my family would like to remain in remote learning?
This will continue to be an option. In the short term, your student will stay connected to their school. They may be assigned another teacher in certain situations to align with other remote learning students.