Submitted by Fred Woods
San Juan Island School District Superintendent
On Thursday, Nov. 5, Friday Harbor Elementary School begins in-person instruction for Kindergarten students. One week later, the first-grade students joined them. Then on Nov. 19, the second-grade will begin. We are excited and look forward to seeing the faces of young children in school once again.
The San Juan Island School District has worked closely with the county’s Health and Community Services in making this decision. We are so thankful for the efforts of all our island communities in keeping COVID-19 at bay. District protocols have been put into place to be as safe as possible while providing our youngest students the much-needed opportunity to learn in-person.
The hybrid model approved by our board of directors calls for half of the students in a classroom at a time to ensure social distancing. Half of the students will attend in the morning. The other half will attend in the afternoon, cleaning and sanitizing in-between. By doing this, teachers will be able to see students daily and focus on the key standards of reading, writing, and math. Specialists will continue instruction via teleschool during the time students are at home. Wednesdays will be teleschooling for all to allow for deeper cleaning. Some families have made the decision not to return their children to the school site. For them, we will be able to continue instruction online as has been done since last March.
The health and safety of students and teachers was of utmost importance while making this decision. We want all students and staff to eventually return to school and we believe we are on the right path toward that goal. For now, we will begin with this cohort of students, evaluate the process, and make informed decisions for improvement as we consider the next steps.
We recognize that this is not an ideal situation for everyone, and your cooperation is appreciated. On our website’s homepage, you will discover a school district reopening handbook, a frequently asked questions guide, and a “Back to School Facts” flyer for a quick review of district protocols. Visit www.sjisd.wednet.edu.
Again, thank you for your support. We are grateful to the community for the safe practices that keep us moving forward.