Letter | SVSD Parents in Support of Safe Return to School

[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 info@livingsnoqualmie.com]

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.

Snoqualmie Valley Schools District Office.

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
again.

It is time that you hold up your end of the bargain and get back to school for our kids.

Respectfully,

SVSD Parents in support of safe return to school

Comments

  1. Thank you. Great letter

  2. Randal J Farr says

    While I surely cannot speak to the reasoning behind the school board’s decision, the recent Covid article on this forum should give parents pause.

    “According to the City of North Bend– “Over the past two weeks (12/22/20-1/4/21), 58 new cases were reported in North Bend, with a 25.7% positive test rate. 5 hospitalizations and one death were also reported during this time period. The City’s 14-day positive test rate is more than double that of the King County rate of 10.9%. The City also currently has the highest rate of positive cases of all King County cities at 849 cases per 100,000 residents.”

    While it is true that children/teens have the least risk of lasting damage from infections, that risk is not zero and is not representative for the potential spread to parents and others who will not likely be vaccinated for months. Everyone is frustrated by the situation and it is remarkable that there is the possibility we can control the virus this year rather than the other way around. The goal here is to have as few “empty chairs” at the table as possible.

  3. Carey Krauss says

    Agreed. Please open schools. The option to remain remote does not need to be taken from those families at high risk.

  4. Chris Lodahl says

    There are reasons for closing the schools – in this case health and safety for not only the students, but for the community as a whole – yea, you and me. The scientist have assured us, the public, the COVID Virus kills as well as leaves future exiting conditions for those who survive. So, it is not only about death but what life will be for millions who contracted COVID to deal with medical issues in the future. The two main sources of spreading are contact with others infected or infected surfaces. This was the primary reason schools were closed; to stop the COVID spread among the population via are children. The facts are there – the reasons are there – the political will to do what is best for all, that is lacking. All of a sudden we have political sides – those who believe in science on how to fight diseases and those who do not understand or do not want to understand that this pandemic is real death and injury. The nation is at 355,000 COVID deaths and climbing at 3,000 plus per day. Los Angles has issued orders to EMS responders to not bring COVID patients to the hospital if they feel there is no hope of surviving – this is where America is at. Not only California, but we have seen New York, Texas, Florida, South Dakota, the East Coast and Mid West – deaths have surpassed 6 Vietnam wars. A war that cost 58,000 American Servicemen lives and tore the county apart.
    The School Board, a political body, should error on the side of public safety – one of the main rules of elected politics. The Valley has seen increased COVID activity and death in the past months, the national spread and hospitalizations is not going down, but instead is increasing nationwide at an alarming rate. The Federal Government response on the vaccine is poor as there was no National Plan to get the vaccine from the supplier into the arm of Americans. The Washington State response is way behind with only 25% of the vaccine used with the rest sitting on the shelf when there should have been a State Plan completed months ago instead of starting this week. Other areas across the county (the south as one) have opened schools with devastating results to students and staff. Would a better plan be to wait this school year and continue all distance learning? Should both sides of the issue be appeased? The issue of vaccinations — is still very much up in the air and will take months to sort out as there is no real plan or strategize currently at the Federal or State levels. I would hope we could all agree Washington State does not want to become another California, New York or Texas. In short – it is not a rosy picture out there and I can say from experience that it is always worse than what the public is told.

  5. Lindsey G. says

    There is data coming out from the UK that children are actually much more susceptible to COVID and pediatric hospitalizations for COVID in the UK are outpacing adults. Additionally, there is new data coming out nearly daily on the new COVID strain from both the UK and Denmark. I think it would behoove us all to take a pause on reopening anything in person so we can better understand the strains. From what I am seeing and hearing it is far more contagious (on the scale of 50-80x the original strain) and it is a matter of time before our health care systems are completely overwhelmed as a result.

  6. We can vaccinate ourselves out of this in the coming months. I am tired too but this is not the time to give in. I do not support opening schools with escalating case rates and unstudied variants beginning to circulate… particularly the South African variant which based on existing data is impacting children more than current prevalent strains. We should focus on getting out act together to minimize deaths with full vaccination in sight.

  7. As a parent of 3 SVSD kids I understand the pain and difficulty, but now is not the time to be complacent. North Bend currently has the highest rate of infection of any King County city. The situation that caused us to close schools in the first place hasn’t gotten any better, the virus isn’t receding– it’s spreading, and it’s mutating. The situation can’t be mitigated until the population begins to get vaccinated.
    I too want my kids to get back to school, playing with friends and interacting with teachers and staff, and they want that too. But we cannot do so until a baseline measure of safety can be guaranteed, and that can’t happen until the vaccine is distributed in our community.
    Remember: it’s not just about the kids, who can bring the virus home to their parents and grandparents. This is also about the safety of our incredible teachers and staff who are working so hard to provide a valuable remote learning experience in this unprecedented time.

  8. Lisa Connors says

    It’s hard to ignore all of the studies coming out that show low to no incidence of covid transmission in schools. Doesn’t make sense to keep schools closed, it is doing more harm than good. Here is a recent study for those interested, one of many…
    https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2021/01/06/peds.2020-048090.full.pdf

Speak Your Mind

*

%d bloggers like this: