Dear Parents and Families,
I want to start this letter by expressing my gratitude for your support and cooperation as it relates to the COVID-19 safety guidelines and protocols we have asked families and students to follow this year. Your efforts are making a difference. I am proud to report that we have had no in-school transmission of the virus since January 4. That is a huge feat for any district and is one we can be proud of as student instruction and activities have not been interrupted by COVID-19 in any of our schools.
As of this week, many of our school employees have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, with most of those scheduled to receive their second vaccine by the end of March. Vaccination of our employees is progressing very well and will help the district get back to normal faster.
As an added measure of safety and convenience, the school district will begin offering free COVID-19 testing for staff and students in each of our schools beginning Monday, March 15. All testing is free and voluntary. Employees and students may be tested if they develop symptoms or have been exposed at school to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Parents must sign a permission form in order for students to be tested. The COVID-19 testing adds another layer of safety for our students, families and employees.
Due to vaccine availability, on-site testing capabilities, an absence of in-school transmission since January 4, and the continued reduction in our county’s COVID-19 infection rate, we have begun advocating with the Governor’s office, OSPI, and the Department of Health to consider reducing the state’s six foot physical distancing requirement. A reduction would allow us the opportunity to consider returning our students to more consistent in-person learning. Additionally, county infection rates have continued to drop but still remain in the moderate range. As more people are vaccinated and we continue to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols the county has an improved opportunity to move into the low activity range. This will also help us get our schools closer to normal operations.
Thank you for supporting our schools. Have a great weekend and enjoy this warm and sunny weather!
Dan Zorn, Superintendent
Longview Public Schools