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10/16 Message from Superintendent Spicciati

Dear ASD Families:

Thank you for your valuable input as we work towards gradually bringing our students back for in-person instruction.  It is important that we hear from families and staff.  We also continue to monitor the health data to aid in our planning. Several weeks ago, when the King and Pierce County infection rates were in the moderate range, we were cautiously optimistic we could begin to bring students back. Unfortunately, the infection rates are climbing and not in the moderate range.  Auburn's infection rate is double the King County infection rate. We cannot bring students and staff back in-person while the infection rates are climbing. We are using the Department of Health Decision Tree  and following the public health data to aid in our decision making. Here is a link to the sources we are monitoring.

We need to be securely in the moderate range as determined by the state Department of Health with infection rates trending down before we can return to in-person. As much as we want students back in school, we are not there yet.

Based on the progression of COVID-19 metrics and guidance from the health department, the earliest we will bring grades 3-12 back for in-person learning in a hybrid model is February 2. This is a difficult decision and not what any of us want. We are letting you know so you can plan around this target date. This is the earliest we could return in grades 3-12, unless health department guidance changes.

We are hopeful we might bring our youngest learners back earlier than the older students.  Our current plan is to evaluate the health data in mid-December to determine if a mid-January return in hybrid is feasible for students in Preschool through 2nd grade. 

We continue to gather information from our families. The preliminary results of the Family Commitment form show 40% of our families want to remain in Distance Learning and 60% prefer the hybrid model. About one-third of our families responded to the Family Commitment form. In a recent staff survey, more than 94 percent of staff are ready to come back to school. 

We still need information from all families so we can plan and staff the hybrid program when we are able to bring students back. We will re-ask families in late November and early December to choose hybrid or continue in Distance Learning. If you did not complete the form, you will have another opportunity to provide the information at the end of next month.

Knowing we are going to continue in the Distance Learning model for the next several months, we will continue to refine the program to provide a supportive, engaging and challenging experience for our students. For now, students will remain with their current teacher. We will be asking families for feedback on Distance Learning in a short survey soon.

For high school athletes, we are aware the WIAA has tentatively scheduled sports seasons to begin in January. We will communicate directly with high school families as decisions are made about sports.

We want to be transparent in our decision-making. I will update you at the beginning and middle of each month to keep you informed. In the meantime, the best way to get students back to school is to slow the spread of COVID-19. The community can help by wearing a mask, physical distancing and avoiding gatherings with people outside of your household. 

Thank you for your support. Thank you for the tremendous efforts staff and families have shown in making the best of distance learning. We are going to be flexible so if it is advisable, we will be able to gradually return. I appreciate this amazing community we live in.

Sincerely,

Dr. Alan Spicciati

Superintendent