Northshore students return to school Wednesday

Northshore School District schools were closed Tuesday for instructional teams to plan and prepare for online learning.

Class is back in session at Northshore School District (NSD) March 4.

In an email message to the community on March 3 from Superintendent Michelle Reid stated that Wednesday will be a normal early release day with the exception of Frank Love Elementary School in Bothell, which remains closed.

“Unfortunately, we still do not have the results for the staff member who is being tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus,” she wrote. “Should families at any other school choose to keep students home due to illness or a concern, this will be considered an excused absence and students will have the opportunity to make up work. Please call the school to let them know you will be keeping your student home.”

Reid wrote that district instructional teams spent March 3 planning and preparing for online learning experiences for their 23,577 students. In addition, she wrote that the district’s closure allowed custodial staff to clean high-touch, high-traffic areas of each school, food service workers to clean their areas and innovate meal service practices to decrease the risk of spreading germs and the transportation department to ensure every bus and van was disinfected.

During the training, staff learned skills and acquired new tools and strategies “in preparation to potentially move the classroom to the cloud, to transition teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom,” Reid wrote. She said the district is considering this option as a way to navigate the health concerns in the case of prolonged school closures.

“I understand that taking the classroom to the cloud will require computing devices for all of our students. If you are in this situation, I am asking you to complete this form and we will arrange to loan your student a computing device and if necessary an accompanying internet hot spot,” she wrote, providing a link to the form in question.

By this afternoon, students and parents/guardians will receive additional information on how to prepare for fully implemented online learning should this become necessary, Reid said in the letter.

She added that as the district received new information daily and NSD continues its efforts to be prepared for the events ahead, “it would be prudent to have students bring home any materials they have at school that would best support their online learning experience should [they] need to close schools for an extended period of time.”

The district is closely monitoring the situation across the region, she wrote. She noted that NSD straddles both King and Snohomish counties — where there have been coronavirus-related cases and deaths — and is impacted by the collective data.

On Wednesday, Reid will be “meeting with the city managers of our three cities as we collaborate on safe and healthy supports for our community.”

“Each day, more of our families, students, and staff are being asked to self-quarantine, and we are finding it increasingly difficult to staff our schools and support services,” she wrote. “Many of our families have reported that their employers have provided direction to work from home at this time. Others have reported that their employers are cancelling in-person meetings and businesses, and other government agencies have closed on-site operations.”

Reid wrote that she will continue to closely monitor this data as the district “thoughtfully [plans] forward.”

“I have also appreciated our work with the health departments in King and Snohomish counties, who continue to provide recommendations on healthy habits to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus,” she wrote.

Reid closed her letter by letting the community know that she will provide regular updates as the district will “continue to closely monitor the relevant staff and student attendance data, as well as new COVID-19 coronavirus cases and exposures.”

“Thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate these challenging times,” she concluded.