Lopez School goes virtual

Lopez Island School District will begin the upcoming school year virtually.

“We know that the start of this school year will look different and we have received feedback from our community and parent survey data that have advised us, which has been helpful and encouraging,” Superintendent Brian Auckland wrote in an Aug. 6 letter to district parents.

The school board agreed unanimously during a special meeting on Aug. 6 to take the first step in identifying the path the district will take to develop a plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

“If things get better in eight weeks, it’s possible we could move into the second of the three models,” school board member Del Guenther said. “We’re not committing to any sort of timeline at all, it’ll just depend on what COVID does.”

Auckland explained his recommendation is supported by San Juan County Health Officer Dr. Frank James, the school’s risk management pool and Gov. Jay Inslee’s suggestions made on Aug. 5.

“The school staff [has] been working diligently over the summer on the three learning options, as directed by the state,” Auckland wrote.

The school board will now put those efforts into motion. According to Auckland’s letter, the school district will hold a town hall meeting in the next two weeks to share a draft of the Safe Return to School plan and answer community questions.

“We know that there’s specific question[s] around learning options for individual students and those plans will be collaboratively discussed in a few weeks with the individual families,” Auckland said.

Auckland’s letter noted the district has identified areas of support for students and families and have begun conversations to develop partnerships with the community.

“One such area is with child care and we are in the planning stages with the Family Resource Center and Public Library,” Auckland wrote. “Right now, new information is coming at a quick rate and we’ll continue to keep families posted as new information comes through on a weekly basis until school starts.”