Letter from Dr. Greg Stern:
December 20, 2020
Dear Whatcom County School Superintendents:
On November 24, 2020, I issued a strong recommendation to roll-back in-person instruction for middle and high school students in response to an elevated and steep rise in COVID-19 case rates in Whatcom County and in keeping with the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) guidance in place at that time. Elementary schools were to continue their phasing in of in-person instruction and high-need students were to be provided in-person services.
Given what has been learned about schools and COVID-19 transmission and new state guidance, I now recommend phasing in of hybrid and in-person instruction for middle and high school students, with emphasis on assuring full implementation of COVID-19 mitigation measures.
Part of our planning work has involved determining how we will return students and staff to in-person learning when it is safe to do so. We studied a number of models. We are indebted to the Northshore School District for the one we have included here. The graphics were developed by Northshore, who graciously shared them with us. The description of the stages, however, is specific to Ferndale.
As they are presented below, the stages do not have hard and fast metrics attached to them. We are working closely with the Whatcom Health Department to determine when we can safely move from one stage to the next.