[Letter by SVSD Parents in support of safe return to school: Views expressed are those of the author, not the Living Snoqualmie website. You may submit letters to firstname.lastname@example.org]
An open letter to the Snoqualmie Valley School District School Board, Superintendent Manahan, Snoqualmie Valley Education Association, educators, teachers and staff:
As SVSD parents in support of safe return to school, we believe School Is Essential. We want our parents and students to have the option for all students and all grades to return to school. Safely.
Last week the school board recommended a timeline for kindergartners and first graders to come back to school in January with a hybrid model and a limited number of students per classroom. Middle school and high school students would not likely return before March 2021.
While we are hopeful these students can come back; it simply is not enough. It has been TEN months since our students have seen a classroom or personally met their teachers. Surely that is ample time to put protective measures in place?
Frontline workers are being vaccinated. Millions of workers are back to work and many deemed essential. Businesses are open and doing it safely. Why aren’t our teachers? Why isn’t School Essential? We are all in this together. It’s time to bring back the teachers and students who want to come back and make accommodations for those who do not. Many other states have brought students back. Eastern WA has brought students back. The district has recommended an AM and PM hybrid model that significantly reduces students’ number per classroom. Our district has also met or exceeded all Department of Labor and Industries and Department of Heath employer health and safety requirements.
As parents, we are advocating for ALL of our kids’ social, emotional and physical health. Last March, our students left school abruptly. None of them got to say good-bye to their friends or teachers. Fifth graders, eighth graders and seniors did not get to thank their teachers for all the years of their support. In August, our students didn’t experience the normal first day of school. They did not start Kindergarten, Middle School, or High School for the first time. They are not meeting new friends or teachers. They are not learning, engaging, or collaborating in a classroom with their teachers and other students. They are not going to dances, sports, or homecoming. The list goes on.
The graduating class of 2020 lost their last few months and their high school years’ most memorable time. Our Seniors this year are in jeopardy of losing their entire year. 7000+ students are sitting in front of a computer for nearly 6.5 hours every day. Some alone. Do you know what we hear? I HATE SCHOOL. Students want to go back to school and we trust you can do it safely.
What about the kids that need more help? The students that have parents who aren’t home or cannot support them? Students that have completely withdrawn? Students, who count on their educators to give them that extra nudge or motivation?
We pay our taxes. We pay the district levies. We vote to fund new schools; we pass bonds that you support, we support teacher’s raises, smaller classrooms – all things that benefit our teachers.
This is a community that loves and respects our teachers. We overwhelmingly support our teachers and staff. We bring classroom supplies, gifts, cards, food. We show our appreciation again and again and
It is time that you hold up your end of the bargain and get back to school for our kids.
SVSD Parents in support of safe return to school