MASD Web News

October 16, 2020

The feelings and excitement across the district are consistent, “We are excited to have our students back in the building for in-person learning on Oct. 26!”   I have heard this over and over from several Harrah, Mt. Adams Middle School, and White Swan High School staff.  We have a dedicated team of professionals ranging from bus drivers to teachers who are excited and ready to have students back on campus!  We have a clear plan to proceed to in-person learning, that has been approved by the Yakima County Health District for a safe return to school and we will monitor and adjust the plan as needed to keep students, staff, and the community safe and learning, every day!
During the week of October 5-9, Mrs. Smith said that virtual student-led conferences were a success.  Staff enjoyed reaching out to parents and sharing their students' progress.  Parent(s)/Guardians were able to meet by phone or by Zoom conference and meet the teacher and have a better understanding of classroom and virtual learning expectations. 
Conference week data from the White Swan campus follows:
Middle School:  52% (78 families out of 151)
High School:  59% (141 families out of 239)
Entire Campus:  56% (219 families out of 390)
Principal Smith states, “Numbers are a little lower than we typically have, but I know teachers are still reaching out to families this week.”  If families have not been contacted, please feel free to call the White Swan Campus Office at 509-874-8626 to schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher.
Athletic practices have begun this week on the “summer practice” guidelines from WIAA.  Mrs. Smith, Mr. Espindola, and Athletic Director Sanchez all agree, “…It is great to have students back on campus participating in activities.”  I was able to watch the baseball team this week and I agree as well—we are excited to have students back on campus!  One of the issues that parents and students need to attend to, and that is eligibility.  Students who have a grade of F in any class will not be able to practice.  So students, please check in with your teachers, get those grades up, and we will see you at practice!
The big news at Harrah this week is, “…all hands on deck preparing for student return on 10/26/20.”  Mr. McCracken reports, “I'm super proud of the work our staff has done!”  I would concur.  Mr. McCracken and his team have done a stellar job preparing for students to return to school.  Nurse Harrington reported this week, “I am 100% confident that we have all systems in place and we are ready for students to return on October 26.”   “We weren’t ready for the 12, but we are and will be ready for the 26th,” she said.

Harrah leadership and teachers continue to meet with parents via the Parent Support group hosted by one of our parents and assisted by Counselor Cesar Hernandez. If you want to attend, please check the website or call the school office at 509-848-5701 for dates and times of the next meetings.  The meetings generate a lot of discussion and questions that allow for a very rich dialogue and problem solving between parents and staff.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they will be extending several waivers, including allowing schools to operate the Summer Food Service Program or the Seamless Summer Option program and serve meals at no cost to all children in the community. The extension will last through June 30, 2021.  Waiver extensions also provide the ability to offer greater flexibility to families by allowing grab and go meal distribution, multiple meals provided at one time, and parent/guardian pick up.  Although MASD has been trying to provide daily meal service, this may need to change in the future.  

The guidance on Band from the OSPI and the Health District is to reduce potential exposure from droplets.  Band is limited to percussion and stringed instruments only, with physical distancing and at least a cloth face covering to be worn at all times unless students practice and play an instrument at home.  
The guidance on Forensics and Debate from the WIAA is that Forensics/Debate programs follow the recommendations set forth in the OSPI guidance document under the section “General Instructional Setting” as well as “Individual/Small Group Instructional Support Setting”.  Safety plans may be developed by the program instructors/advisors and submitted to the appropriate school governing body to clarify and demonstrate adherence to the stated guidelines.