The Hoquiam School District could be all virtual this Fall. District Superintendent Mike Villareal said in a letter to parents on Friday that the reopening district leadership team will be recommending to the school board at their August 17th Board Meeting to plan for a September 2nd full virtual start to school.
Villareal added, “We all anticipate the day we can return to ‘normalcy’. Knowing we will be moving to virtual instruction now allows for everyone to better prepare for our start date.”
The following letter was sent to parents and posted to the district’s website.
Dear Hoquiam School District Students and Families,
This morning the Hoquiam School Board conducted a Special Board meeting to receive an update from the 2020 Reopening Committee. Upon considering many factors, it has been determined that the best option to maintain student and staff safety during this pandemic is to start the school on September 2nd in a full-time virtual learning instructional model.
Like all of you, I was hoping that we could return this fall without the fear and limitations to our programming. This decision is based on keeping our students and staff as safe as possible. Unfortunately, we’ve seen rising COVID-19 transmission rates across our region and state. I know our entire staff miss our students dearly and long to be with them again and we know our students miss their teachers and wish to see their classmates on campuses.
We cannot predict how long students will remain in full-time virtual learning. This will depend on infection rates and we will continue to rely on guidance from the health and education officials to advise us when it is safe to reopen schools. When we reopen, it will almost assuredly be in a hybrid model—combination of in-person and distance learning. We have been planning for and preparing for our schools for a hybrid model the past several months, so we will be prepared for that.
From our experience last spring, we have been developing an improved virtual learning program for all of our students. The district has identified some key components to our plan:
- You can expect that the learning experiences will be both synchronous (all students learning at the same time) and asynchronous (students learning without real-time interaction based on direction from their teachers).
- Staff training that includes best virtual learning practices, equity, and social-emotional wellness.
- A digital device for every student at all grade levels
- Technology training for families.
The Hoquiam School District will be offering a couple options for virtual learning (enrolled in regular schools or HOMELINK) More details will be provided next week regarding program information and enrollment.
More details of our district plan will be included in the report to the school board on August 17th. The online Zoom meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. and meeting details and links will be posted on our district website.
Thank you for your patience in our planning efforts to create the best instructional plan for our Hoquiam students. In the coming weeks we will be providing more specifics about what students and families can expect in a virtual learning environment. We look forward to welcoming our students to a new school year in September.
Dr. Mike A. Villarreal