Dear VPS families,
Thank you for your patience, your understanding and your daily efforts to help students continue their learning at home during the statewide closure of school facilities. Being a parent of two children in Vancouver schools, I know that remote learning is difficult and has many shortcomings. It simply cannot compare to classroom-based learning. I am proud of our teachers, staff, families and students for working so hard to make the best of a challenging situation.
As we near the end of this school year, families are wondering what summer activities and the start of the 2020-21 school year will look like. We are developing plans for a few possible scenarios in VPS, and plans also are being discussed at the state level. We know that we will have to prepare for a range of possibilities and follow state public health guidelines for the safety of our students, employees, families and community. We also expect to receive guidelines on fall athletics and extracurricular activities from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.
Our plans must be made in collaboration with our school principals and employee association leaders, and they must reflect the input we receive from staff and parents. Among the many details are bus transportation, social distancing protocols, personal protective equipment, meal services and cleaning and sanitizing procedures. We certainly don’t have all of the answers, but we are examining options that could include a rotation schedule allowing students to spend part of their week at school while continuing their remote learning at home.
Your responses to our recent survey on remote learning will guide us as we improve our remote learning lessons and expectations. We will refine our practices based on your comments and suggestions as we plan for next year. Innovations in remote learning that have worked well this spring will be shared in schools across the district. Teachers and staff will continue to receive training to help them support their students.
I am grateful to be working in a school district and community that care so deeply about young people. Because of our shared interest in meeting the academic and non-academic needs of all students, I am confident that we will overcome the challenges of the next several months and that VPS will be an even better district as a result of this experience.
VPS will continue to provide updates as we learn more about plans for summer and fall. Meanwhile, please stay safe and healthy.
Steven T. Webb, Ed.D.