Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Letter from your School Board: Addressing COVID-19 Concerns

To the Families we serve in Woodland Public Schools and to all Concerned Citizens,

Hello from your Woodland School Board! First, we would like to tell you that it’s been an honor to be able to serve our community in this capacity. Each of us shares a passion for our schools and have felt their impact in our own families as we personally have, or are currently working on, ushering a cumulative total of 16 children through to graduation in the hopes that they grow into adults who are ready for whatever their future endeavors might be. We have high hopes and big dreams, not only for our own children, but for each child who enters through the doors of our schools.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been incredibly difficult on everyone. We are not immune to the realities: fatigue over restrictions, concern over what it means for our loved ones, loneliness in isolation, sadness over our divided nation, apprehension over the future, and so many other aspects. We are with you, doing our best to remain positive, stay healthy (both physically and mentally), and remaining hopeful for a better tomorrow.

Heading into the summer, we, as a board, were so hopeful that this school year would look much more normal. Then, the Delta variant hit our community hard. It didn’t take long before the subsequent mandates and directives came down from the governing authorities above us. Some of these mandates seemed fairly reasonable given the contagious nature of the Delta variant. Some of them we didn’t like and, quite frankly, didn’t even necessarily agree with. This is where we find ourselves now – desperate to spend our time solely doing the good work behind teaching kids to read, do math, and explore the world side-by-side with their peers.

As a board, we collectively have two main priorities as they pertain to this pandemic. First, we need to keep kids and their families safe. Second, we need to do our best to keep kids in school. We have never, nor do we plan to, operate outside the advice of experts in healthcare. We recognize that there are many people who have opinions on how we move forward and we value these opinions! Each of us comes to this place in time with our own perspective, and these various perspectives give us insight into how the pandemic is affecting the families in our community. That being said, the COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis and any decisions we make will be made solely at the recommendation of experts in the field of healthcare. Our school district is in weekly communication with the Clark and Cowlitz Departments of Health, and we are also speaking to pediatricians and other medical doctors who live and work in SW Washington to see if there is alignment between them and our local health departments.

We hear from some in our community who desire for us, your school board, to defy these mandates, making decisions on our own that reflect their wishes. We cannot do this for three reasons. First, we’ve each sworn an oath of office that states we will follow the Constitution and laws of the state, an oath we take very seriously. Second, defying mandates would put the funding we receive from the state at great risk, cutting our funding by about 87%. Third, as mentioned above and of primary importance, we are committed to listening to and following the learned advice of health experts.

You might wonder why we require all students and staff to follow state requirements when the risk is low for many. The reason behind this can be found in our vision statement, which says:

Woodland Public Schools, in partnership with families and the community, will create a PreK-12 system that serves and supports ALL children and ensures that EACH child has FULL access to, is engaged in, and obtains an excellent education that prepares them for responsible citizenship and a future of adaptability and success in life and their chosen endeavors. 

Highlighted in our vision are the words “ALL” and “EACH.” As a public school district, we need to make absolutely certain that our schools are accessible to ALL families; to EACH child who should choose to receive their education in WPS. Within our Woodland community are many, including children, parents, and guardians, who have health challenges that put them at greater risk for illness. It is our duty and our privilege to do our very best to make a safe environment for each of these children.

Please remember that we are regular citizens like you. Each of us has experienced loss these past two years. We are continually evaluating and re-evaluating our systems in an effort to respond to the pandemic and minimize its impact. We fully recognize that this has had a huge impact on students, their families, and our staff. For that, we are saddened.

Thank you to those who have graciously shared how we can do better. It’s important to us to fulfill our role to the best of our ability and with integrity. 


The Board of Directors for Woodland Public Schools

Click here to download a PDF of the Board Letter in Spanish