Dear PPCS families –
On behalf of the school’s Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome our families back to school for the 2021-2022 school year!
The first part of the school year is always marked by change and adjustment as students transition to school structures and routines and teachers and staff refine procedures and communicate expectations.
This year, as the Covid pandemic continues, our adjustments include an evolving Covid Safety Plan to keep our students healthy and learning. Palouse Prairie School’s plan reflects the CDC’s recommendations for schools, aligns with the Moscow School District, and draws from input that families and teachers provided through our recent surveys.
Although we have diverse perspectives at our school, we learned from our surveys that a large majority of families and staff support:
- Returning to school five days a week in person.
- Proper and consistent mask-wearing as a defense against Covid transmission.
- Learning and eating outside when possible.
You can take a look at summarized survey results: PPCS Back-to-School Survey results
In a nutshell, our plan prioritizes in-person learning five days a week. In order to safely and continuously do this, students and teachers (and everyone in the building) will wear masks properly and consistently while indoors. We will maintain high standards of personal hygiene and school cleanliness to avoid the spread of germs and ask families to be our diligent partners in watching for any symptoms of illness and keeping students home from school if they are ill or have been exposed to Covid. We will be working closely with our region’s department of public health to conduct contact tracing and recommend quarantining as necessary.
If your family’s situation prevents your student from attending school in person, including due to significant medical issues affecting the student or immediate family members, PPCS will provide a remote learning option. The remote option offered will be through Idaho Distance Learning Alliance (IDLA) in core subject areas only, which also allows your student to maintain their enrollment at PPCS. PPCS will try to include remote students in outdoor learning opportunities when possible. Families have the option to reevaluate quarterly. Please contact school leadership via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day on August 30th to discuss this option and other individualized accommodations.
Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the plan, which also includes information about supports for students’ and teachers’ mental and emotional health. I wish I could say that this will be our one and only Covid safety plan for the year but I suspect that it may require ongoing revision as conditions shift. The board will review this plan at our September 27 board meeting and every six months thereafter to make adjustments as needed. I must stress that our school, like all schools, is doing the best we can to make thoughtful decisions for students, families, and staff in the face of limited resources and conditions and advice that are changing rapidly.
As this pandemic goes onto its third year and we continue to weather its impacts and ambiguities together, we are grateful for the EL Principle of Empathy and Caring. Like the other core principles of EL Education, this concept guides our learning and behavior toward one another. Particularly in these complicated times, we value our community’s ability to come together and prioritize students’ physical health, mental and emotional well-being, and learning needs.
For more information about EL principles, see: https://eleducation.org/who-we-are/our-approach
PPCS Board Chair