Update from Orcas Island School District | Letter

As we approach the first of June, a lot of attention has turned to what school might look like in September. I continue to meet with OSPI, Washington superintendents, and our district ESD on a weekly basis as we contemplate this and many other topics related to the future of education and COVID-19. Our OISD Administrative Team and I have been researching, reviewing guidance, and creating possible procedures for some time. Over the next month, we will see more guidance from state and federal organizations that will in turn help us shape and define an instructional model for OISD.

Although I cannot tell you exactly what that model will look like for OISD at his time, I can assure you that OISD’s instructional model will be created based on the safety of our students and staff. Although the fall school term will begin in September, it will not resemble a “traditional” or “normal” back to school model. This is simply not a viable option at this time.

One instructional model being considered by OISD and many other districts across the nation is a hybrid model in which students attend campus two days each week or five days every other week with supplemental online instruction on the alternating days or weeks. On-campus instructional intervention and support will also be implemented within the model. The primary purpose of this model is to provide quality, individualized instruction with approximately 50% of the students on campus at any one time.

We recognize that reducing attendance on campus for the safety of our students and staff will present challenges for working parents. Additionally, we will continue to depend on parents to support online instruction in the home as they have been doing over the past eight weeks. We as a district plan to reach out to numerous island organizations to provide additional support to students and families this fall.

This past week, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction held the first meeting of the Reopening Washington Schools 2020-21 Stakeholder Group, a 120 member group representing multiple districts, agencies, and organizations across the state with the primary goal of drafting guidance on the reopening of Washington schools in September. Please click on the link below for notes on the first stakeholder meeting: Notes and Options from OSPI’s First Stakeholders Meeting

I’m sure you agree that we all want our children back on campus just like it used to be. We will get there, but not before it is safe to do so. I look forward to the day when I can welcome all children back on campus and attend school barbeques, sporting events, academic competitions, and concerts. Together we can weather this storm and emerge with healthy Orcas Island children!

In closing, the OISD staff and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for partnering with us in the education of your child at home for these eight weeks. We know it hasn’t been easy, and we are grateful for your support.

Take care of one another and be well,

Eric Webb

OISD Superintendent