Dear Parents and Guardians,
The first several weeks of hybrid in-person learning for kindergarten through fifth grade students has gone very well. Students and employees are doing a great job working together to make our schools a safe and healthy place to learn. We are eager to get our middle and high schoolers back in the classroom, but the COVID-19 infection rate in Cowlitz County continued to be in the high zone this week which is above the health department guidelines to bring more students back to school. However, this week we experienced a bit of a drop in the infection rate and are hopeful that this might represent the beginning of a downward trend in the county’s COVID-19 infection rate.
Longview and Kelso School District recently initiated a campaign to encourage our citizens to follow health and safety guidelines to help us get our students back in the classroom. This effort is now county wide as all Cowlitz school districts have joined. We invite you to join us in our community advocacy to follow the established guidelines regarding face coverings and maintaining 6 feet of distance in public. On this Super Bowl weekend, we are also asking that you consider minimizing the number of close contacts you have with those outside of your household. These community efforts will be very helpful in getting the infection rates into the moderate range which will allow us to begin getting more of our kids back to in-person learning.
The good news is the health department safety protocols are working very well in the elementary schools, so we feel confident and ready to welcome secondary school students back for hybrid in-person learning once the infection rate comes down. For the safety of our students and employees we will continue following the guidance of the health professionals in determining when more students will return for in-person learning.
Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is slowly reaching our area. Health officials estimate the vaccine will be available to school employees within the next six to eight weeks. In preparation, our district is working on plans to provide a vaccine clinic for our staff members once the vaccine is available.
We continue to bring small groups of middle and high school students into schools for instruction and help. If your child needs additional assistance please reach out to your school. Our teachers and support staff are doing a great job helping kids who need it. We also have mental health services available to students who are struggling. If you are concerned about your student, please reach out to your school to talk to them about having one of our mental health providers or counselors provide supports.
Please join me in practicing good health safety measures so we can get more kids back for in-person learning. Stay safe and have a great weekend.
Dan Zorn, Superintendent
Longview Public Schools