Archives

This section contains previous messages released on the COVID-HQ for easier accessing.


 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Middle School Athletics suspended due to COVID-19 test shortage

Due to complications from COVID-19 affecting supplies of rapid tests for the virus nationwide, Woodland Public Schools must suspend middle school athletics starting Friday, January 14, 2022. The shortage of available tests prevents the district from remaining in compliance with the testing requirements of the WIAA which requires student athletes to be tested three times a week.

The district has several unfulfilled orders placed weeks ago still being processed by suppliers, currently waiting for new shipments of tests from the manufacturers. Due to the contagious nature of the omicron variant, manufacturers have fallen behind in their shipments of rapid tests as factories have been closed due to virus caseloads increasing across the country.

“We know our student athletes and their families are disappointed, and we will continue doing everything in our power to obtain supplies of the required tests,” said Superintendent Michael Green. “We will restart suspended athletics once we have enough supply to meet the WIAA testing requirements.”

Currently, test manufacturers have been unable to provide dates for when shipments of tests will restart.

 


 

Monday, January 10, 2022

DOH RELEASES UPDATED COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS FOR K-12

On Friday, January 7, the Washington State Department of Health released new school requirements and supplemental considerations for K-12 staff and students. The major changes are summarized below, however you can review the school requirements and supplemental considerations by clicking the respective highlighted links.

  • Quarantine and isolation timelines have been reduced to five (5) FULL days with two negative tests within five (5) days following exposure which actually works out to six days as day of exposure is considered "day zero." 

  • Test-to-Stay has been expanded to include staff, including exposures that occur outside of school to both students and staff. This change will help us avoid closure due to lack of staffing and also help keep kids in school.

  • Identified new cases of COVID-19 have been exploding. We encourage staff and students to consider surgical masks or KN95/KF94 masks rather than using cloth masks as cloth is less effective at preventing the spread of viruses.

 


 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

COVID Advisory: Woodland Public Schools to remain in-person unless mandated

In the first few days of the new year, we are seeing a substantial increase in illness and positive COVID case counts along with significantly increased testing volume due to the more contagious omicron variant.

We want to assure families that Woodland Public Schools does not plan to return to district-wide remote learning unless mandated to do so. We know how important in-person learning is to our staff, students, and families, and will do everything in our power to keep kids in school while still prioritizing the health and safety of our students and staff.

However, Washington State’s Department of Health does use metrics which may require school districts to move individual classrooms or schools to remote instruction for short periods of time if COVID outbreaks are found in those classrooms or buildings. We will remain in close contact with you should such a situation arise.

In the meantime, we can all help prevent the spread of COVID by following the existing health and safety guidelines including social distancing, mask-wearing, and keeping social gatherings to a minimum.

 


 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Letter from the Board of Directors

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. 

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors for Woodland Public Schools

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

 


 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Woodland Public Schools is dedicated to returning kids to normalcy as quickly and safely as possibleWoodland Public Schools is dedicated to returning kids to normalcy as quickly and safely as possible

 

While the Woodland community may be aware of some of the changes made by the dedicated administrators and staff of your Woodland Public Schools, we want to share with you the hard work and dedicated efforts made by your schools to make Woodland a leader in the return to normalcy for our students.

Woodland Public Schools was the first area district to return elementary students to full-time, in-person school
We understand the importance of in-person learning both to the academic achievement of our students but also to their mental health and well-being. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our administrators, teachers, classified staff, and more, Woodland Public Schools was the first school district in our area to return all of our elementary students to full-time, in-person school.

Our team worked closely with the Department of Health to demonstrate how students could return to in-person learning, and to show how schools could operate in a pandemic environment using social distancing, mask-wearing, and contact-tracing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Less social-distancing, more social-experiencing
By collaborating with other school districts, we were able to demonstrate to the Department of Health that the social distancing rules of six feet of distance between students could be reduced to three feet and still effectively prevent the spread of the virus. 

This reduction in social distancing helped our staff more efficiently organize learning spaces, and, perhaps more importantly, also let our students sit closer together for better social experiences that are such an important part of school for our children.

 

Woodland Public Schools collaborated to ensure high school students could celebrate homecomingWoodland Public Schools collaborated to ensure high school students could celebrate homecoming

 

At Woodland High School, our staff collaborated with other school districts in our area and the Department of Health to make the school’s first Homecoming Dance in two years a reality. Thanks to big 40-foot-by-40-foot tents and space heaters generously provided by the community, our students celebrated homecoming in style.

Additionally, the tents will remain set up all year so students can enjoy the outdoors mask-free during lunch and breaks without concern of potential inclement weather.

Teamwork is key. Our staff works closely together with each other, with other districts, and with state agencies to find new ways to re-introduce normalcy to our students’ lives. As we fight the spread of COVID-19 together, finding ways to keep our students mentally healthy by providing social experiences remains a top priority while also preventing the spread of the virus.

Woodland Public Schools ushered in the return of extracurricular activities including music and athletics
We were among the first to bring back music classes and athletics. Additionally, by collaborating with the Department of Health, we have also seen the return of spectator-attended events including sports games and band concerts. 

Our band and choir students wear specially-designed protective equipment and maintain social distancing in order to keep our music classes in session. Our staff deeply understands the importance of extracurricular activities and has dedicated a great deal of effort to ensure our students can participate in these important parts of the school experience.

How you can help
While still respecting the mandates and guidelines presented by both the Federal and State governments, we continue to affect change as a district to ensure our students can feel as normal as possible in these unprecedented times. 

However, we can always use your help. We encourage community members to share feedback, ideas and suggestions with the Department of Health as well as our local state legislators.

While we are experts in education, we are not experts in health and safety. We cannot ignore or modify the mandates passed down by Washington State. In order to make change, our state legislature needs to hear from you – the citizens of our great state – so they know how to make the changes that will make a difference in our students’ lives.

We continue to make efforts not to just keep our students in school by closely following health and safety guidelines, but we continue to work hard to find ways to return our learning environments to normalcy as soon as reasonably possible.

Thank you, as always, to our amazing community for your ongoing support of your schools. Together we will make profound differences in our students’ lives!

 


 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Why school districts must follow the state mask-wearing and COVID-19 vaccine mandates

A few community members have reached out to inquire why the staff and students of Woodland Public Schools must follow the state-issued mandates on mask-wearing and COVID-19 vaccinations. While individuals have the right to possess a particular political viewpoint, public agencies such as local school districts serve all members of the community, regardless of political affiliation or perspective.

Accordingly, school districts must remain non-political as we serve everyone in our communities. We serve all without regard to each community member’s personal political perspectives and opinions. In reference to school districts, public agencies must abide by the laws, guidelines, and mandates passed down by State and Federal governments. That duty is especially important when those mandates directly affect the health and safety of students and staff in school districts.

Woodland Public Schools follows the state mandate that all staff and students must wear masks inside school buildings at all times. While many find mask-wearing uncomfortable or unattractive, studies repeatedly show that the act of wearing masks reduces the risk of contracting and/or spreading contagious viruses such as COVID-19. 

As new cases of COVID-19 become fewer, the decision makers in Olympia may choose to eliminate or modify the mandate. Woodland Public Schools will follow new health and safety requirements as directed. For community members who disagree with any requirement or mandate, we encourage them to reach out to their local state representatives as those are the individuals who have influence in the political arena. 

The staff of Woodland Public Schools will always seek to protect the health and safety of our students as our top priority so we can keep our schools open and our students learning in-person. 

 


 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

How is the vaccine mandate impacting staffing at Woodland Public Schools?

We have heard concerns from some members of the community that Woodland Public Schools is firing a large number of staff due to the impact from the Washington State Vaccine Mandate.

In August, Governor Jay Inslee and the state legislature required all K-12 staff throughout Washington to receive the COVID-19 vaccination or have an approved exemption by October 18. All staff were informed of this requirement on August 18, 2021 to ensure enough time to fulfill the requirements of the mandate.

In Woodland Public Schools, NO teachers will be terminated – all have been immunized against COVID-19 and/or have been approved for an exemption prior to the deadline. Out of the 447 staff members Woodland Public Schools employs, only seven (7) did not provide proof-of-vaccination or receive an exemption.

“Our top priorities at Woodland Public Schools are to keep kids in school with in-person learning while ensuring we do everything to keep our community’s children safe and healthy.” said Superintendent Michael Green. “The goal of the mandate is to slow the spread of a deadly pandemic; the reality of the mandate is that we are losing valued members of our school family.  I wish there were options to retain them.”