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Announcement about the 2021-22 School Year

As the calendar turns to spring, our attention turns to planning for the 2021-22 school year. You may be wondering, “What will the next school year be like?” 

With COVID rates in a downward trend (as compared to earlier this school year) and with more and more people getting vaccinated, BISD is committed to bringing students back full-time in the fall. However, it’s imperative to know that full-time school in the fall will not be exactly like full-time school before the pandemic. We will continue operating within the parameters necessary to hold school in the midst of a pandemic.

  • Last week the CDC adjusted its social distancing guidance for schools to three-feet in some settings but not all settings. Six-feet of distancing is still required in middle and high school settings if the community is experiencing a high COVID transmission rate. (A high rate is considered more than 100 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.) 

    In addition, six-feet is required:
    - Between adults in the school building and between adults and students
    - In common areas such as hallways and auditoriums
    - While eating and drinking 
    - While participating in activities with increased exhalation (singing, band practice, exercise, etc.)

    These scenarios will all need to be factored in as we plan for full-time, in-person learning. For example, how can we provide spaces for students to eat lunch while remaining six-feet apart? Our lunchrooms and eating areas weren’t created to meet those specifications; we will need to be creative in our planning.

  • Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced that our state’s school guidelines will align with the new CDC social distancing guidelines. At last night’s school board meeting, we discussed the reasons why BISD won’t be implementing the three-foot rule until the fall. (You can view a recording of the meeting here. The discussion begins around the 19:36 mark.)

    In a nutshell, the main reasons BISD isn't able to pivot and bring students back full-time this spring involve:
    - Lunch challenges (as stated above)
    - Transportation challenges — we would need at least six additional drivers and it takes up to eight weeks to train and license new drivers
    - The secondary schedule is based on the hybrid AM/PM model and altering the schedule would mean students would have to shift classes mid-semester

  • COVID-19 mitigation strategies will continue during the 2021-22 school year. These include mask-wearing, daily attestation practices and increased ventilation, cleaning and hand hygiene.

  • Remaining nimble is key! We need to be flexible with our planning as unknown challenges remain (such as variants or a spike in the number of cases). We need to be able to quickly pivot from in-person to remote learning if necessary.