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July 23, 2020

Dear Families,

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has just announced that based on current levels of COVID-19 in our community, it is not safe to open schools this fall.  Therefore, school will start on Sept. 3 in a full-time Continuous (Distance) Learning model 2.0.  I acknowledge this decision is not ideal and will result in challenges for everyone, but we must prioritize the health and safety of students and staff based on the current guidance from our public health officials. 

We recognize delaying our in-person instruction for the fall presents many challenges.  The majority of families who made learning model selections, opted for a hybrid of in-person instruction.  Our work continues on this model as we will eventually have students return to buildings.  However, beginning immediately, we will focus all efforts on continuing to enhance distance learning for families. 

At this time, we cannot predict exactly how long we will remain in a full-time distance learning model.  We will continue to rely on public health guidance in monitoring community health and re-analyze our situation 6-8 weeks after school begins Sept. 3.

Enhanced Continuous (Distance) Learning
We acknowledge that families need to plan for fall with limited information.  Distance learning schedules are being finalized and will be shared with families in early August.  

 Going into September, our goal is to streamline communication and standardize on common tools. Parents and students can expect: 

    • •  Weekly newsletters with important information pertaining to their school 
    • •  Direct access to information, weekly schedules, and learning activities via Schoology 
    • •  Live and recorded lessons using Microsoft Teams, and District-approved instructional materials  
    • •  Number grades (1-4) for students in grades K-6 and letter grades (A-F) for students in grades 7-12.  Students on    Individualized •  Education Plans (IEPs) will receive progress reports that align with identified goals and objectives. 
    • •  Daily attendance recording 
    • •  Technology training for families

Technology for all students

All students in grades K-12 will have access to a device to support Continuous (Distance) Learning 2.0.  Empowering Puyallup, a fundamental District initiative, provides equity and access for all students.  Schools will distribute computers and information on Puyallup’s Protection Plan  prior to the first day of school. 

This pandemic has challenged us all in many ways, but we will get through this.  We have an opportunity to come together, learn together, and support one another as we navigate uncharted territory.  We don’t have all the answers, but please trust that the values of health, safety, learning, and support are at the forefront. 

We are fully committed to providing a full year of learning with those values driving the work. 

In service and support,

 Dr. John A. Polm