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Connections: August 2020
Greetings. I am Dr. John Polm and I am honored to be the new Superintendent of the Puyallup School District!

It goes without saying that this has been an unprecedented year on many levels. I recognize the enormous pressure this pandemic has put on parents and caregivers. The pressure to protect, care, love and teach children during this time has been exhausting. As partners in education, we recognize and feel these pressures alongside you.

We want children back in school in the safest manner possible. This means we will continue to work with state agencies to request flexibility in an effort to bring all students back full-time. However, we are required to follow requirements set for us by the state, Labor and Industries, and the Department of Health (DOH). At this time, the DOH is requiring students and staff to wear cloth face coverings and maintain six-foot distance when seated in the classroom or other learning spaces. They are also requiring visitors to wear face coverings.

Most of our classrooms can accommodate about 15 students under the six-foot physical distance requirement. Consequently, at this time, providing a hybrid, or part time in-house and part-time distance learning structure, is our most likely scenario for most students in the fall. Each week, certain days would be dedicated to in-house learning, with the remaining days dedicated to continuous (distance) learning 2.0. This approach has been termed the “A/B” model. There are many unanswered questions as to how the A/B model works and what this hybrid instructional model will ultimately look like. Extensive planning will continue throughout the summer and we are committed to keeping you informed.

If there is anything this pandemic has taught us is that the education of our children is a shared responsibility. Henry D. Thoreau, a writer and philosopher once said, “One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something."

We recognize that as a community you have been asked to do a lot. Thank you for trusting us. We are all in this together, and together we will weather this storm and identify the best path for educating our youth — in healthy and safe environments — both now and in the future.

Thank you for your patience and grace.