Edmonds School Board discusses plans to return to learning in person this fall
With plans to return students to in-person learning starting this fall, the Edmonds School Board discussed several issues Monday evening that need to be addressed before the school district brings students back to class five days a week. .
During the council’s regular school reintegration briefing, Superintendent Gustavo Balderas announced his intention to offer students the opportunity to resume in-person learning five days a week for the 2021 school year. -2022 or stay 100% remote.
“Our goal is to get as many of our children back to our campuses as possible,” he said.
In a letter sent to families, the district provided more details, including plans to distribute a student intent survey to find out which students will choose to return and which will stay away.
Earlier this week, the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for adolescents 12 to 15 years old. As a result, Deputy Superintendent Dana Geaslen said many parents have come forward to questions regarding vaccine availability in the district.
In response, Geaslen said the district was working with the Washington State Department of Health and Seattle Visiting Nurses – who administered vaccines at Edmonds College – to deliver vaccines to eligible students at three sites in the district. .
Staff are still working out logistics, but Geaslen said there may be a drive-thru option available on Wednesdays and Thursdays, similar to what’s been offered at the college. Additionally, staff helped organize a college mass vaccination site on Saturday May 15 for students ages 12 and older.
Geaslen also updated the board on a pilot project that allows students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 to perform self-administered tests in school buildings. The project is a partnership with the Ministry of Health and allows anyone 4 years of age or older – with the permission of a parent or guardian – who may be showing symptoms at school, to visit the community. school’s COVID-19 containment room, do a self-test, then go home and receive the results within 48 hours.
The project started at Meadowdale High, Meadowdale Middle and Spruce Elementary Schools and expanded to other district schools this week.
“We are delivering kits this week,” she says. “All school sites have received training.”
This week, the district also started offering rapid tests which are necessary for wrestling competitions and may soon be required for all sporting competitions in the future, Geaslen said.
Additionally, during the meeting, Deputy Superintendent Greg Schwab provided an update on this year’s graduation ceremonies. The district intends to offer in-person graduation ceremonies at Edmonds Stadium, located at Edmonds-Woodway High School, for all schools. The ceremonies will be spread over four days starting June 17th.
“Based on the guidelines from phase 3, we will actually be able to bring all the graduates together as a graduating class,” he said.
In-person participation will be limited and staff are working on stadium capacity. The ceremonies will also be broadcast live online.
Executive Director of Student Learning, Rob Baumgartner, briefed the board on plans to offer summer learning programs to all students. Some K-8 students will benefit from in-person learning, while an online option will be available to all.
Currently, K-8 schools are working to identify students who would benefit from in-person learning. Baumgartner also said staff have determined the schedules for the K-8 programs, which he says will start at 9 a.m. and end at 12:45 p.m. Those times take into account lunch and break times.
Plans for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students are still in the works, but Baumgartner said they are working on creating two college venues and several elementary schools.
“The goal is to release them later this month and have these listings for summer lineup – for K-8 – right after Memorial Day,” he said.
High school students will be offered a credit recovery program with acceleration options. Some online programs will require in-person labs. The programs will take place at Meadowdale and Mountlake Terrace High Schools, where students will have the option of attending a morning session from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and an afternoon session from noon to 3 p.m. .
All programs will begin July 6, with the K-8 program ending August 5, and the high school program ending August 12.
In other areas, the board received a financial update from CFO Lydia Sellie. The report covered the district finances reported at the end of March. Sellie began the presentation by noting that the report was a year since the district closed school buildings to in-person learning.
According to Sellie, the district is doing better than expected with a fund balance of $ 4.6 million more than estimated staff. In recent meetings, staff have expressed concerns about student enrollment and the impacts fewer students would have on cutting state funding. However, Sellie said that despite the decline in student enrollment this year, the district is still expecting more students than it had in the 2018-19 school year.
“It has been extremely helpful,” she said.
As part of the income, they collect the 2020 tech tax and spend downward on the proceeds from the 2014 construction bond. The funds from the recently approved 2021 capital levy will be reflected in next year’s budget. , Sellie said.
Under General Fund Income, Sellie also noted that the district has received over $ 729,000 in products from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Education (OSPI). Typically, the district is in the $ 450,000 range, but due to the success of the District Food and Nutrition Services Department, Edmonds was able to access unused produce that other districts could not. .
Also as part of the general fund, Sellie said that after initially asking districts to use Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for transportation, the Washington State Legislature decided to finance the transport of the pupils to and from the school.
Regarding student enrollments, Sellie said enrollment had declined by 172 students since January, bringing the total for previous years to 593 students. While concerning, Sellie added that staff had forecast a decrease of 600 students and based their budget estimates on that.
“We are managing this and hope to pick up many more children when we reopen our doors in the fall,” she said.
When asked by Principal Gary Noble if staff have identified the reasons why students are dropping out, Sellie said she is looking into the matter and will provide more information at a later date.
In other areas, the board voted to approve a proposed reduced educational program for the next school year. Due to declining student enrollment, the district has identified areas for potential reduction in overall spending. This ensures that certified employees who may be affected by the cuts will be properly notified by May 15.
Declining student enrollment has left the district with 47.02 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees at risk of displacement. So far, the only staff reduction identified has been that of a part-time elementary school vice-principal. With 50.3 FTE vacancies to be filled across the district, Director Nancy Katims said she hopes staff will be able to find a place for the affected employee.
“It’s a really positive image even though we have to pass this particular resolution for a half-time job,” she said.
The council also voted to approve the revisions to the free speech policy. Before the vote, the council voted to change the policy to include a ban on hate speech.
The addition came after a community member raised the issue during public comments at the meeting.
“I think it’s a really good review,” Katims said.
In addition, the council voted to change policies on high school graduation requirements, sexual health education, student transfers, and the district’s financial aid counseling day.
As part of the new business, the board did a first reading (taking no action) to approve the authorization to use the general contractor / construction manager project delivery method for the HVAC / lighting / project. roof of the Educational Services Center (ESC).
–By Cody Sexton