Sept 8 Superintendent's Update

Superintendent Update | September 8, 2020
Posted on 09/08/2020

Good afternoon everyone!

I hope this message finds you with power and an internet connection and you are safe and sound!  Between the power outages last night and the Pierce County Health Department announcement last Friday regarding schools potentially moving to hybrid learning models for elementary students as early as the end of the month in some areas of the county, I thought I would speak about both topics with you briefly to give you an update. 

First, in most areas of our district the power internet networks have been restored if they were lost.  We understand that some areas are still impacted as of this afternoon, mainly around the Jovita area, but we are hopeful they will be back up and running by tomorrow morning. Additionally, because of COVID and an emphasis to limit travel and social interactions, we do have teachers working from home and today some of them were without power in nearby communities.  Starting tomorrow, if power is still out at a teachers home, they will be utilizing their classrooms because we currently have power and network connections at all schools and the district office.  If there was an issue with one or more of your child's teachers not being connected today we apologize however, they will be following their schedules tomorrow unless we have additional power losses over night and/or we have a unique situation with a staff member being impacted by local wildfires...which is another issue for some!    

This part of this message is from the following Pierce County School Districts collectivley: Bethel, Carbonado Historical, Clover Park, Dieringer, Eatonville, Fife, Franklin Pierce, Orting, Puyallup, Steilacoom Historical, Sumner-Bonney Lake, Tacoma, University Place, and White River. 

Now that some of our districts have started school remotely, there has been a lot of speculation about when schools will reopen for in-person learning. 

Last Friday, we received new guidance from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department which shows that Pierce County has now transitioned from the high level to the moderate level of COVID-19 infection. 

Between now and Sept. 21, districts will be monitoring data and developing transition plans. None of our districts will bring students back before Sept. 22. Specifically, in the Fife School District we will be looking at the data and discussing logistics in the coming two weeks with our building leaders and teachers and will meet with our school board as well.

Once a district decides to bring students back to school, they may need at least two weeks of operational transition time before they reopen their doors at the elementary level. 

The districts will continue to monitor county trends and work with public health officials to determine when secondary students may return in the future. 

With Labor Day weekend behind us, we are still a little concerned that the positive trend of reduced infections could relapse with the long weekend’s activities like we saw after Memorial Day in May and the 4th of July weekend. Let’s hope not!

At this point in time, please communicate with your building administrators, your child’s teacher(s) and/or school secretaries should you need assistance with our online learning model.  In all likelihood we will be teaching and learning in a remote setting until at least the end of the month for our younger learners and most likely at least until the middle of October for our secondary students.  Please remember those dates are not set in stone as we will need to see where the Health Department data takes us.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding as our teams face yet another challenge!

#togetherweRfife     #Risforrelationships

Kevin Alfano - Superintendent

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