||School board to review middle school in-person learning plans as new COVID-19 cases decline
School board members will meet Feb. 2 to review community COVID-19 case data to determine if thresholds have been met to begin transitioning middle school students back to in-person learning.
Data provided by the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health reveals COVID-19 disease rates have significantly improved since the holiday season. Based on guidance released by Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health, schools are encouraged to reopen for middle school instruction when cases drop below 350 cases per one hundred thousand population over 14 days. That ratio, when applied to the Walla Walla and College Place communities, equates to 200 new cases over a two-week period, the same threshold the Walla Walla School Board and Walla Walla Valley Education Association agreed on to begin returning middle school students back to campus.
As of January 26, combined case counts between the two jurisdictions were at 209, just above the 200 mark. An updated report from county officials is expected Monday.
“If updated case counts meet the board’s threshold we could begin transitioning back middle school students in about two weeks’ time,” notes Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This transition window allows families time to adjust schedules. It also allows the district time to perform its 3rd party on-site safety audit at each site, address specific staff safety accommodations, and communicate safety protocols and schedules to our families.”
School board meeting information is located on the district’s website:
School Board Regular Study Meeting Details
• Tuesday, Feb. 2
• 5:30 p.m. (meeting open to the public virtually)
• Watch: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/96377543811
• Listen: Dial 1-253-215-8782 and enter the Webinar ID: 963 7754 3811
• Spanish Access:
- Subtítulos en español: https://wwps-org.zoom.us/j/96377543811 (Seleccione “Live Translation” en el menú inferior).
- Agenda española: https://www.wwps.org/district/information/school-board/board-meeting-schedule
||Strong start for elementary in-person learning
Monday Walla Walla Public Schools welcomed elementary students back for its AM/PM hybrid model following a 10-month break from in-person learning.
“What an incredible week it has been,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “I am so proud of our elementary and preschool faculty and students. It was such a remarkable opportunity this week welcoming elementary students back the first day, following last week’s successful preschool experience.”
Superintendent Smith reports attendance has been excellent and feedback from teachers, parents and support staff has been positive. The district has implemented stringent safety protocols focused on wearing masks, social distancing and enhanced cleaning practices to support in-person learning.
Click HERE to view the district’s Roadmap for Safely returning students as it continues planning for more students to return to in-person learning as local conditions improve.
||No Elementary PM Session Feb. 5 and NO SCHOOL (K-5) Feb. 11-12
• No Elementary PM session - Friday, Feb. 5 (K-5 report card preparation)
• No School (K-5 only) – Feb. 11 and 12 (Parent/Teacher conferences)
• Elementary Parent/Teacher Conferences are virtual via ZOOM
• Visit your child’s school website or contact the school secretary to schedule a conference (registration goes live Monday, Feb 1)
||January/February Pulse Video
Click on the link to watch the January/February Pulse video as Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith provides timely updates on the district’s Safely Reopening schools plan. Superintendent Smith addresses the steps the district has taken to ensure safety as in-person learning resumes in Walla Walla. He also discusses WIAA return to play protocols and thanks school board members for their support and leadership during these unprecedented times.
||Input needed for Virtual ParentCamp
Longtime educator Pam Clayton is organizing the district’s first-ever Virtual ParentCamp March 22 from 6:30-8 pm. She needs your input. Please fill out the survey by Feb. 5 to let the school district know what topics you want to discuss at camp. ParentCamps are a family-school-community engagement opportunity. This camp will focus on conversations and topics of interest to assist everyone in supporting local children. The goal is to help all children achieve and thrive.
Survey Link (closes Feb. 5)
||Sign Up for Parent/Teacher Conferences
Winter Parent/Teacher conferences for transitional kindergarten and elementary students will continue to be virtual via ZOOM. Winter conferences will be held the week of February 8-12. There is no school Thursday, February 11 and Friday, February 12.
Beginning Monday, February 1, please go to the WWPS online conference scheduler and sign-up for a time to meet with your child’s teacher. Links to the scheduler will be on our district website and each school’s homepage.
A how-to video on signing up for conferences is also on our website.
• (English) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CldCO8bTbBE
• (Spanish) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIfvm2h1YSw
If you have any trouble signing up, please contact your child’s school secretary for assistance.
||Early Learning Coalition presents free virtual screening of Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America
The Walla Walla Valley Early Learning Coalition will be doing a free virtual screening of the documentary Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America. The documentary remains available online through Saturday.
The documentary focuses on children’s and families’ ability to realize the American dream through early childhood education. Elected officials, brain development experts and business leaders make the case why early learning is not only the right thing to do, it is necessary for America’s future success.
From Starting at Zero’s website: https://startingatzerofilm.com/
“Starting at Zero examines the latest developmental brain science to demonstrate how essential the earliest years of learning are to maximize human potential. Key features of high-quality early childhood learning environments and experiences are outlined and then brought to life as the film delves into the evolution of Alabama’s #1 nationally ranked state Pre-K program.”