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November 24, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Happy Thanksgiving! This year’s holiday will be very different from past years, just as this school year has been very different. The large gathering of friends and family will have to wait for future holidays. We will be wearing masks and socially distancing ourselves during a time typically filled with hugs and warm conversations, but we will get through this and be better for it in the end.

Though it has been a challenging year, I know I still have much to be grateful for, and I suspect you feel the same way. In difficult times like these, taking the time to express gratitude is perhaps even more critical. We have a great deal going on right now, and a kind word of appreciation can make all the difference. But did you know that giving thanks can make you happier too? In one study, participants who wrote down the positive things that happened to them each day demonstrated a more optimistic outlook at the end of the 10-week trial. The positive impacts didn’t stop there. By the end of the study, those same individuals were exercising more and had fewer visits to the doctor. You can read more about the power of gratitude here.

I enjoyed reading all the Thoughts shared last week in our Gratitude Exchange. The District shared the Exchange results with the individuals specifically named to help brighten their day. Thank you again to all those that participated.

As you already know, this is a short week as all Ridgefield School District schools will be closed on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for Thanksgiving Break. I wish each of you a safe, restful break.

Thank you also for continuing to share amazing photos of your children learning through Ridgefield Remote. Until we can return to hybrid learning, these photos help connect us. If you happen to snap a great family photo during the Thanksgiving Break, please share it with us student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org). I would love to see the different family traditions and celebrations this holiday season. Below are several of the more recent images shared with the District.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Break, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



November 18, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I am writing to you today to share the latest news regarding our planned return to in-person instruction for our youngest learners. The Ridgefield School District is delaying the start of in-person instruction for kindergarten until Tuesday, January 5, 2021. This decision weighs heavily on me, as I am well aware of the social/emotional toll and academic struggles that remote learning has on many of our students and families.

Currently, we are experiencing precipitous growth in the 14-day COVID activity rate. In fact, the ascending rates across our state led to Governor Jay Inslee mandating new community restrictions earlier this week to slow community spread. While schools were not named in the order, the Ridgefield School District is delaying our return to in-person instruction until after winter break in hopes that COVID transmission rates will have stabilized.

As I have shared with you from the beginning of the pandemic, our plan for a return to in-person instruction has always been based on a safe and sensible approach. While empirical evidence suggests that in-person school is safe and does not necessarily contribute to community spread, the unknowns associated with the current county conditions make delaying our return the sensible choice.

While I understand that January 5 may feel far away, we are fortunate to have Winter Break from December 19 - January 4. Pausing our plan just a little provides valuable time for the new restrictions to mitigate the rise in community cases.

The COVID-19 Activity Level is not (nor has it ever been) the only metric public health and school districts use in referencing a potential return to in-person learning. However, with the rapid increase over the past few weeks, this is an important metric in this decision at this time.

I am thankful for your continued patience and support of the Ridgefield School District. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



November 13, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Are you the superstitious type? I have never been one to believe in superstitions, but with today being Friday the 13th and the way 2020 has been going, well, I just might need to rethink things. After all, it couldn’t hurt if we all found a penny or a four-leaf clover.

November is a time of thanks and gratitude. Over the past several months, I have asked for your insight and input on various topics through various surveys. This week, I would like to use our ThoughtExchange platform in a very different way. This week I would like to see if we can do a Gratitude Exchange. I am inviting each of you to take a few moments and share a success or celebration from this year.(survey link). Feel free to share shout-outs to those that are making a real difference for you and your family. Let’s all celebrate and feel good together as we continue to demonstrate #RidgefieldResilient. The full link to the survey is: https://my.thoughtexchange.com/#374476586

Thank you for continuing to share amazing photos of your children learning through Ridgefield Remote. Until we can return to hybrid learning, these photos help connect us. Please keep them coming (student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org). Below are several of the more recent images shared with the District.

It is not too late...you have until Monday, November 16th to sign-up for the 4th Annual Ridgefield Public Schools Foundation Turkey Trot (link here). This year the event will take place virtually. It is a great chance to get in a bit of exercise before your Thanksgiving meal.

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

November 6, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I would like to start this week’s letter with a heartfelt thank you to every Ridgefield School District family. As a District, we have strived for increased parental feedback. I enjoy the opportunity to visit with and meet as many families as possible. However, it seems that this year, most of that feedback is being gathered via electronic surveys due to in-person restrictions. While not nearly the same interpersonal connection, the information is no less valuable. I want to let you know where we currently are with two of our surveys.

Recently we asked all secondary students to take part in a survey to identify what they needed to feel supported at school. We have shared those results with building principals. They are currently analyzing site-based information and working with staff to identify areas of improvement. Earlier this year, we asked all families to complete a questionnaire related to social/emotional barriers. School counselors and Connection Center mentors have been working tirelessly to connect with students and families. Also, we have partnered with Kevin Ashworth, LPC, Clinical Director of NW Anxiety Pediatrics, to lead an informational night title, “How to Spot Anxiety in Your Child and What You Can Do About It.” I encourage you to set time aside on Monday, November 9th, at 5:00 to join this engaging discussion.

Next Wednesday, November 11th, all District schools will be closed in honor of Veteran’s Day. The Ridgefield School District would like to thank all our Veterans, including my dad and Ridgefield resident Gene McCann, who served our country for 20 years in the United States Navy. Thank you, Dad!

The Columbian shared an interesting Clark County Public Health data table in today’s (November 6, 2020) paper. In short, the data is indicating that a leading cause of community spread is coming from private social gatherings of 2-10 individuals. The longer we battle COVID-19, the more susceptible we all are to relax our adherence to COVID mitigation strategies...especially amongst friends. Please remember to continue using social distancing practices and wear your masks. Together we can do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



October 30, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Earlier this week, Education Service District #112 shared a joint press release on behalf of nine Clark County School Districts, including Ridgefield. You can read that press release here. In short, the press release indicates that Clark County School Districts have been working with Clark County Public Health to determine the feasibility of bringing back our kindergarten learners for in-person instruction.

We are living in unprecedented times, with many competing challenges. Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is a public health priority; however, merely shutting things down to limit spread can have unintended consequences that impact public health. As I have recently shared with you, COVID school closures impact our students’ social/emotional health. The toll it is taking on our students, especially our youngest learners, is concerning.

Ridgefield has worked closely with eight of our neighboring school districts and Clark County Public Health. Together, we have decided to expand in-person services to kindergarten students. Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health Director, and county health officer states, “Bringing small groups of kindergarten students in to classrooms for in-person education is a cautious and incremental approach that fits within state health department guidance.”

The Ridgefield School District is committed to bringing our kindergarten students back for in-person instruction and doing so safely and sensibly. In-person education for kindergarteners will begin on Monday, November 30. This is the first day of the second trimester for elementary schools.

Shortly, the District will send out a kindergarten-specific Trimester Two learning mode survey. This survey will include details on the learning day and allow families to select the learning mode that best suits their needs. As promised, families will continue to have the option to remain in Ridgefield Remote.

Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to vote. Your voice matters; make it heard! If you are curious, tracking your ballot is easy here in Washington. Click on this link to follow your ballot’s progress to “accepted” status at the Clark County Elections Office. For your convenience, the RACC has a secure, official Clark County ballot dropbox.

Not that we need 2020 to last any longer than necessary, but daylight savings ends this coming Sunday, November 1. Please don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before you head to bed.

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


October 23, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

By now, many of you have already had a chance to meet with your child’s teacher during our early release conference times. I know Amanda and I enjoyed spending time visiting with our boys’ teachers. Conferencing through Zoom was valuable. We didn’t have to wait in lines, no headache with parking...maybe we have stumbled across another first that is worth considering moving forward.

Speaking of November, flu season is here. Hopefully, you have either already received your flu shot or scheduled a time to get it. We all must do our part this year to help reduce the flu. The CDC has an excellent article titled, “Similarities and Difference between Flu and COVID-19” that I recommend you read.

Earlier this week, the District hosted a virtual Hybrid Community Night. The purpose of this meeting was to share with our community everything the District has done in preparation for our eventual return to in-person instruction. If you could not join us for this event, no worries, you can watch the recording by clicking here. We were able to answer a few questions during the event, but due to time constraints, we didn’t get to everything. You can access the full FAQ here.

This week, I ran across an article titled “Parents’ Guide to Managing Stress While Remote Learning” by Jenna Mendelson, Ph.D., HSP-P that I wish to share with you. Jenna has some practical advice for reducing family stress. I would encourage you to hone in on how you can help your child manage their stress.

Thank you for continuing to share amazing photos of your children learning through Ridgefield Remote. One of the elements I miss is seeing all the smiling children in their classrooms. Until we return to in-person learning, these uplifting photos will have to do. Please keep them coming (student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org). If you captured your child all dressed up for Unity Day, I’d love for you to share the photo(s).

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


October 16, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Mindset is a powerful tool, a potent tool. For most of us, when we learned to ride a bicycle, it was filled with numerous attempts, skinned knees, and maybe even a hurt elbow. I know it was for me. Yet that didn’t stop us from persevering and finding success. I see this same resiliency in my boys. As a parent, I’m comforted when they embrace and eventually overcome the struggle in any one area of their lives. Resiliency is forged, ready to serve them in other areas of their lives, including all the firsts they encounter this year. Their first, and hopefully only, pandemic. Their first time completing school from home through Zoom. Their first time wearing masks in a grocery store. There is a lesson here. Let’s use the power of a positive mindset and celebrate our new world of firsts.

A recent first for the District occurred earlier this week. We honored our students and employee of the month recipients at our board meeting like we have done many times before. However, due to COVID, we needed to limit the audience to immediate families only. So we used Zoom to broadcast the ceremony. We heard from multiple families that the Zoom broadcast allowed family members from all over the country to join in. Wow! Viewers from all over the country celebrated with Ridgefield. I think we have found a new tradition moving forward. A practice that without COVID, we may not have discovered.

Next week, for all but Ridgefield High School, we will be holding parent/teacher conferences via Zoom for the first time. If you have not already scheduled a time to visit with your teacher(s), please do so early next week. Let’s use a positive mindset while approaching this new first.

Clark County Public Health released the newest weekly rate on Tuesday, 100.1 per 100,000. Using the existing guidance, this keeps schools in our area still waiting. As I type this, I feel it worth mentioning that a growing body of science suggests schools are not super-spreaders (The Atlantic). There are also growing concerns regarding children’s unintended consequences resulting from school closures (EdSource)(World Medical and Health Policy). The District remains committed to bringing students back to in-person instruction in a safe and sensible manner that follows public health guidance.

Since I am focusing on the power of a positive mindset this week, I wanted to share a module put together by Jeff Utecht Consulting Inc. that focuses on Growth Mindset. I hope you enjoy this resource as much as I have.

I want to thank everyone that answered our call for candid Ridgefield Remote student photos. Thank you! There were far too many submissions to share them all, but here are a handful to celebrate Ridgefield Remote learning. Please keep those photos coming (student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org).

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

October 14, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, I marvel at our community’s resilience. Still, after seven months, the very real challenges and stressors we collectively face can have a compounding effect. For that reason, I am writing this particular update, joined by Teresa Vance, our Assistant Director of Social/Emotional Learning. We wish to share resources on mental wellness and health you may not otherwise be aware of to help your students through these difficult times.

The first resource includes two documents (Steps to Keep Your Family Healthy Today and LEARN Saves Lives-Suicide Prevention Tips for Teens) from the Forefront Suicide Prevention Center at the University of Washington. You will find this document beneficial if you have questions or seek information regarding mental health and ways to talk with your student about suicide prevention. It will also help you recognize when someone may be at risk and how to connect them with immediate help.

The second resource is a link to a list of mental health providers and crisis response organizations in the Clark County area. We are also providing a third document, a list of the primary organizations in the Clark County area who support families with grief and bereavement.

If you desire additional assistance accessing any of the supports identified above, we encourage you to contact your student’s school counselor. You may quickly access contact information on our SEL school counselor webpage, located at school counseling, and clicking on the email next to your student’s school counselor.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership. If you have any questions about social-emotional learning, please call or email.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann
Superintendent

Teresa Vance
Assistant Director, SEL



October 9, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

If you are like me, you have been monitoring the Clark County Public Health Department website more closely every Tuesday. The most recent COVID-19 14-day activity rate is 95.60 cases per 100,000, keeping the region in the “high” category for the third consecutive week. The Ridgefield School District will not move to a hybrid learning model until the weekly rates are in the moderate range for at least three successive weeks. Please remember, we can all do our part to reduce coronavirus spread in Clark County by wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and practicing good hygiene.

While the transition remains on hold, we are committed to expanding in-person student services, including transitioning to hybrid learning when it is safe to do so. With that in mind, the District will be hosting a Hybrid Community Information Night on Tuesday, October 20, at 6:00 PM. Please plan to join us using this link.

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month, as well as National Principals’ Month? You can show your support for National Bullying Prevention Month by wearing orange on Unity Day, set for Wednesday, October 21st this year. A great way to show your principal you care and support all they do is to ask your child to create a card, short poem, or drawing. I know the principals would love to have their email inbox filled with student creations.

Yesterday afternoon, Declan (my almost six-year-old) and I got our flu shots. If you know him, you won’t be surprised to learn; he handled it like a champ. I’m proud of him for doing his part to help keep Ridgefield healthy. While our family receives the flu vaccine annually, public health officials remind us this year the vaccine is more critical than ever. You can help reduce the strain on our healthcare community by getting your flu shot early this year. For additional flu vaccine information, please follow this link. Many local pharmacies are ramping up their services, including: Safeway. Walgreens, Rosauers, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, CVS at Target, and Walmart.

Do you have some great photos of your students hard at work during Ridgefield Remote? How about a candid shot of them exceptionally engaged in a Zoom lesson, playing during a virtual PE class, or getting into an art project? We invite you to share student pictures with the District by emailing them to student.photos@ridgefieldsd.org.

I believe that humans are creatures of habit. I know I am. I also understand that the fear of the unknown is real. This year has provided a lot of change and disruption from our regular habits and routines. In an article posted on YaleMedicine.org, Carrie Macmillian shares “8 Tips for Working From Home with Kids During Covid-19”. While I will share the headline for each of the eight tips, I encourage you to take a moment and read the article. I think you will find it well worth your time.

1) Create a schedule

2) Get up and move

3) Schedule a time to be with your kids

4) Embrace technology

5) If your child has special needs, reach out to their school

6) Be mindful of how you talk to kids about COVID-19

7) Be on the lookout for anxiety

8) Look for silver linings

Parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner for Union Ridge Elementary, South Ridge Elementary, Sunset Ridge Intermediate, and View Ridge Middle School. If you have not already, please reach out to your teacher to schedule a time to visit. A quick reminder, both Thursday, October 22, and Friday, October 23, will be early release days.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

October 2, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

We are wrapping up one of the most spectacular final weeks of September that I can remember. The sun has been out with temperatures hovering in the low 80’s nearly every day. I hope you found a moment to breathe in the fresh air and take in the early fall colors. If not, there is still time this weekend. The forecast is calling for cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain late next week.

Earlier this week, Clark County Public Health (CCPH) released the newest 14-day COVID activity level, 86.18 cases per 100,000 people. This number is trending the wrong way and continues to put our region in the “high” range, thereby delaying the transition to hybrid in-person learning.

As we have shared previously, CCPH recommends that COVID activity rates remain below 75 cases per 100,000 people for at least three consecutive weeks. We will continue to coordinate with CCPH and communicate with you the District’s transition plan as we learn more.

Knowing that we are going to be in Ridgefield Remote for at least three more weeks, now may be a great time to review your at-home learning space. The following seven tips are from a recent article published by the Khan Academy linked here.

1)Choose a location based on your child’s learning preferences.

2)Eliminate distractions.

3)Make it comfortable - but not too comfortable.

4)Ensure the learning space has good lighting.

5)Have all your child’s supplies - pencils, paper, calculator, for example - easily accessible in their learning space.

6)Encourage your child to personalize their learning space by adding decorations, artwork, or anything else that might help them to stay motivated and be inspired.

7)If possible, the learning space should only be used for learning; this includes attending classes, doing homework, studying, for example.

Birdfest and Bluegrass Home Edition begins this weekend. The Friends of the Refuge have worked very hard to make this a memorable and engaging virtual experience. I encourage you to spend some time exploring and learning more about the culture and history of our area.

This coming Tuesday, October 6th is National Night Out. This year the City of Ridgefield is asking community members to celebrate in their neighborhoods, as we are still under large group gathering restrictions.

Great news...the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District has received 90 hotspots through the State of Washington. These are items that families can put a hold on and check out like they would a book or DVD. To find them through the library's catalog system, simply type in "hotspot". Just like the RSD Hotspots, these devices need a cell signal to be used.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


September 25, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

We are just days away from October, which is the birthday month for both my boys. October is always so much fun, with parties and fall-themed family outings. I look forward to the annual trip to the pumpkin patch with Amanda, Jamison, and Declan. I realize events will look a little different this year, but I refuse to let the memorable moments slip through my family's hands. Years from now, my boys won’t remember the social distancing requirements, the face coverings, the hand sanitizer stations, or the myriad other safety protocols in place. Ok, they probably will remember, as the pandemic has left an indelible mark on everyone. But, what I hope they will remember most is the time spent with family. We will remain #RidgefieldResilient.

As I shared with you earlier this week, Clark County Public Health (CCPH) released the 14-day COVID activity level, 76.15 cases per 100,000 people. This number puts our area in the “high” range, thereby delaying the transition to hybrid in-person learning. CCPH recommends that COVID activity rates remain below 75 cases per 100,000 people for at least three consecutive weeks. We will continue to coordinate with CCPH and communicate with you the District’s transition plan as we learn more.

The Learning Mode survey is now closed. A quick apology: last night, an unintended email went out to ALL K-5 parents indicating they had not completed the survey. A follow-up email went out immediately, attempting to clarify the mistake. Please know that if you were one of the nearly 1,400 respondents that completed the survey, we have recorded your choice. Thank you for your assistance. For those who have not completed the survey, your student will be enrolled in Ridgefield Remote (our remote only) learning mode through the end of the first trimester (November 24) unless you email parentsurvey@ridgefieldsd.org indicating your desire for hybrid learning by the end of today.

A staff member recently shared with me that, “...there is an order to things that we may not understand, but in hindsight, we see that things work out as they should.” The Ridgefield School District is committed to moving forward with positivity, inspiration, and inclusiveness. Knowing that we will be stronger and closer as a community for the shared challenges, we triumphed when this is all over. Stay safe and continue to remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


September 22, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I am writing to you this afternoon to share the latest news from Clark County Public Health (CCPH), regarding COVID activity in the community and the associated impact on plans to transition to K-5 hybrid instruction. As we have shared previously, CCPH recommends that COVID activity rates remain below 75 cases per 100,000 people for three consecutive weeks post Labor Day. The September 21st rate, released today, is 76.15 cases per 100,000 people.

What does this mean for the Ridgefield School District and our transition to the hybrid learning model? In short, it means we wait. We delay the transition to hybrid for AT LEAST three weeks. We will continue to monitor the CCPH number weekly and continue to plan for the transition to the hybrid model.

I imagine this may be viewed as a setback for the 867 parents, or roughly three out of every four respondents, expressing a desire for their child(ren) to return to in-person learning via the hybrid model in our Learning Mode survey. Please know that the District continues to look forward to the day we are able to bring students back for in-person instruction. However, as we have said before, we will only do so in a safe and sensible manner.

The silver lining is that we have additional valuable time to continue communicating the many details related to the transition to hybrid learning. It is still critical that ALL K-5 parents complete the Learning Mode survey (click here) so the district can appropriately place students and staff. You are selecting the Learning Mode you wish to use (Ridgefield Remote / hybrid in-person) for the duration of the first trimester (until November 24). As that date approaches, the District will survey all K-5 parents again to see which learning mode you wish to use for the second trimester (November 30 - March 4).

For those interested in additional information, I invite you to join the virtual School Board meeting tonight at 5:00 PM. I will provide the school board an update on our current plans. Please use this link to join the meeting (click here).

2020 continues to provide new and unforeseen challenges, yet I remain resolute that the Ridgefield community can and will overcome them all. Stay safe and continue to remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



September 18, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Thank goodness for the rain and improvement in the air quality. It seems to be providing a natural transition to fall. The changing of the leaves, the cool fall weather, and watching college football with friends and family, reminds me why I love the fall.

The District is currently operating a remote learning environment with limited in-person opportunities for our most academically impacted students. We continue to monitor COVID-19 activity rates via the Clark County Public Health (CCPH) website, along with weekly Zoom updates with our public health officials. CCPH has published the rates for the last several weeks (see below). Based on current guidance from CCPH, and assuming rates remain less than 75 cases per 100,000, we will begin the graduated transition to Stage I: hybrid learning (in-person instruction for Grades K-5 via an A/B model) on October 6th. More specific information regarding the plan will be shared next week, should public health metrics remain within the appropriate range. Please note, should next week’s number rise above 75 cases per 100,000, we will postpone the transition plan and monitor rates for an additional three weeks.

Recent COVID-19 activity levels (rate is calculated weekly):

  • August 17: 74.7 cases per 100,000 people
  • August 24: 71.6 cases per 100,000 people
  • August 31: 63.05 cases per 100,000 people
  • September 7: 64.07 cases per 100,000 people
  • September 14: 69.4 cases per 100,000 people

Early this summer we asked you to indicate your desire to take part in a fully remote learning experience, in place of in-person instruction. While many of you submitted your registrations, a lot has changed. We are asking parents of Kindergarten through fifth grade students to complete the instruction model registration process linked below. This registration process will ask you to indicate your intent to remain in Ridgefield Remote, or your desire to participate in the hybrid instructional model. Your participation is critical as we continue planning. Access the registration form here.

I am so excited to share that our Homework Help program is expanding. Beginning next week we will be adding math support for our 3rd and 5th graders. As I share this fantastic news, I also wish to thank one of our dedicated staff members for making this possible - Susan Arndt. Mrs. Arndt is currently providing math support for our 7th and 8th graders, but has witnessed the value of this program first hand and wants to help more of our students. What a terrific example of #RidgefieldResilient. Thank you, Susan!

Also, thank you for participating in our Thought Exchange last week. We had over 300 participants who shared 281 Thoughts and more than 5,000 ratings on Ridgefield Remote. What a great turnout. Overall, responses were very positive. Below is a WordCloud that represents the collective feedback.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



September 11, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Yesterday marked the 181st day since K-12 students had received in-person instruction in our schools. A regular school year consists of 180 days. Think about that for a moment. Yesterday also marked the first transition toward our ultimate goal; a return to full in-person learning. Limited in-person instruction and support services began yesterday as we welcomed back a cadre of students with more intensive needs. I had the pleasure of visiting these classrooms and seeing our fantastic staff working with our joyful students. It filled my cup! It's great to finally start seeing some normal school activities taking place in our classrooms.

Please know, the process will take some time. The school operational modes are as follows:

A) Remote instruction for all students

B) Remote instruction for most students, with certain higher-needs students (select special education, homeless, ELL, Title, LAP) receiving in-person instruction

C) Hybrid model for grades K-5 in an A/B cohort model

D) Hybrid model for all grades in an A/B cohort model

E) Return to regular school operations, with necessary modifications to address any ongoing effects of COVID-19

We continue to monitor COVID-19 activity rates via the Clark County Public Health (CCPH) website and meet weekly with our local public health officials. We will move cautiously, always with our students' and staff's safety and well-being at the center of the decision.

I'm excited to share with you that the District continues to add resources and supports to Ridgefield Remote. Just yesterday, we launched our Homework Help Zoom support. We offer live homework support from 5:00 - 8:00 PM Monday - Thursday for most of the K-8 grade bands. We hope to expand this service to all grades soon. We also launched a Tech Hotline. If you are having difficulty with your Chromebook, please email: helpdesk@ridgefieldsd.org or call 360-619-1363.

Today marks the end of our second week of Ridgefield Remote. While admittedly different, I know my boys and our family are finding a groove, and each day, we get a little more comfortable with the distance model. I hope your family is finding your groove too. I have heard from many of you how pleased you are with the start of the school year. I am very proud of all of our teachers and staff who have worked diligently to make Ridgefield Remote come to life. And I am grateful for all our students and parents for making the most of this new learning environment. In our continuous Pursuit of Premier, I ask you to take a few minutes and participate in our newest Thought Exchange (click here) to share your experiences so far.

2020 continues to challenge us all. I encourage you to find a moment of hope and inspiration this weekend. Share your strength and resolve with others in the community, and together we will remain #RidgfieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

September 1, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Yahoo! It is here...the first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year. I am so excited to be writing to you this morning. At this very minute, students across the Ridgefield School District are connecting with staff, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones via an improved virtual learning experience - Ridgefield Remote.

We are excited to share with you that very soon (possibly as early as next week), the District will be adding additional supports to our Ridgefield Remote. Specifically, we are working in partnership with our classified staff to open a “Homework Hotline” and a “Tech Help” call center. The “Homework Hotline” will be available in the early evening for students in grades K-6. Classified support staff will be available to help answer questions and provide additional guidance for students and parents. The “Tech Help” call center will be open during the school day to support and troubleshoot minor tech hiccups.

Earlier today, we shared more good news...the District’s waiver was approved to continue serving meals to all children ages 0-18 impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

School pickup sites are:

  • Union Ridge Elementary (Building B) - Monday-Friday, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Sunset Ridge/View Ridge campus - Monday-Friday, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Students do not need to be present at pickup, and families can pick up meals for all their students at one time at either site.

We would love to see your “first-day” photos. Tag them with #RidgefieldSchoolSpirit and #RidgefieldFirstDay.

Thank you for your continued support. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


August 21, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I am reaching out to you this Friday afternoon with a tremendous amount of excitement! The 2020-2021 school year is nearly upon us. I know I am not alone in this excitement. The Ridgefield School District staff is anxious and excited to get started on what is sure to be a memorable year. Many challenges await us in the coming days, weeks, and months. What gives me strength is the passion and resilience I have observed time and again since the beginning of the pandemic from students, staff, and the greater Ridgefield Community. This passion and resiliency bind us towards a common goal, enabling us to achieve more together than we can alone.

Earlier this month I shared with you Ridgefield Remote, the District’s plan for remote instruction when we begin school in September. Ridgefield Remote is a more robust, predictable, and user-friendly distance-learning model which will allow rigorous learning to occur in the distance environment.

While we are beginning the year fully-remote, we remain committed to a return to in-person learning as conditions warrant. We are developing a graduated return to in-person learning. This starts while in remote learning, by bringing in small groups of students whose services cannot be effectively delivered in a remote environment. As we meet regional safety benchmarks, we will expand our in-person services, eventually reaching our hybrid learning model, and ultimately a full return to in-person learning. For more information on the regional School Opening Decision Framework, I encourage you to take a moment to read the latest recommendations for schools from Clark County Public Health and the corresponding news release from ESD 112.

I encourage you to explore the various resources we have compiled to aid you and your child(ren) in Ridgefield Remote. We recently updated our FAQ page, which seeks to answer the most frequently asked questions.

The District has put forth significant effort and capital to implement local and state safety guidelines. As I write this letter, ABM custodial staff are placing signage through our buildings reminding staff (and eventually students) about expectations, hall directions, handwashing requirements, face mask coverings, etc. Click here to view our page outlining the safety protocols staff, students, and visitors need to follow on our campuses

Thank you for your continued support. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


August 14, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

The first day of school is right around the corner, and while the year will undoubtedly begin differently, our staff members are eagerly counting the days until we welcome students back.

On Tuesday evening, the School Board approved the District’s Reopening Plan, which includes Ridgefield Remote, our distance-learning option. As you know, we will open the school year in this fully-distance model.

Understandably, there are still many questions pertaining to Ridgefield Remote and the start of the 2020-2021 school year. I encourage you to explore our FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions. This document will be updated regularly as needed. Additionally, I encourage you to visit the District’s remote learning webpage to learn more about Ridgefield Remote.

This week you received information about Chromebook distribution for your child(ren). The District is transitioning to a 1:1 take-home technology model, and all kindergarten – 12th grade Ridgefield students are eligible to receive a Chromebook for use during the 2020-2021 school year. Distribution, based on the family last name, will take place in the north parking lot at Sunset Ridge/View Ridge, beginning Thursday, August 20, and concluding on Tuesday, August 25. Click here for more information on the process and to complete the required use agreement. Please note, students are not required to use District Chromebooks if they prefer to use their personal devices.

After Chromebook pickup, Sunset Ridge and View Ridge families may continue driving to the south parking lot on the other side of the building for textbook pickup. All fifth – eighth-grade students will have at least one workbook to pick up for their classes.

Families of Ridgefield High School students may drive to the RHS roundabout for textbook pickup. All freshmen and sophomores and most juniors and seniors have at least one book or workbook to pick up. If you are not sure if your student has a book to pick up, please email jill.guccini@ridgefieldsd.org. RHS students with art classes will also be picking up art supplies at this time.

I hope your final days of summer are enjoyable. As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent 


August 7, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Happy Friday! With the start of the 2020-2021 school year rapidly approaching, I am pleased to share details on the student experience in our distance-learning model, Ridgefield Remote.

Our team of administrators and leadership from our teacher association have worked hard to develop a more robust, predictable, and user-friendly distance-learning model. Every elementary student will receive small group skill-specific instruction a minimum of 4 days a week, and students with high needs will receive instruction 5 days a week. Our 6th grade is committed to continuing a subject-specific rotation.

As a District, we continue to hold out hope for a return to in-person instruction this school year. With that in mind, the secondary sites are committed to maintaining a 6-period course schedule throughout the week.

We heard through our family feedback surveys this spring that consistency with our Learning Management System needed improvement. This fall, all staff will be using the Google Suite, including synchronous instruction through Google Meets, class assignments through Google Classroom and asynchronous instruction through Screencastify.

I encourage you to visit our homepage and click on the “Ridgefield Remote” link to view building schedules and explore the resources we have posted for students and parents. Please continue to check back often, as we will continue to add resources to this page, including an FAQ next week.

I also encourage you to take a moment to read the August 6th news release about updated state health guidelines shared by Governor Jay Inslee, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal and the Washington State Department of Health. The decision tree establishes guidelines and recommendations to assist school leaders and local public health officers when making decisions regarding school reopening plans.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

July 29, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Community spread of COVID-19 in Clark County and Southwest Washington continues, and given the current conditions, Ridgefield School District will begin the 2020-2021 school year in full distance-learning mode.

As promised, our distance-only learning model, “Ridgefield Remote,” will be more robust and predictable. A talented team of administrators and teachers are working collaboratively, having dedicated countless hours this summer, to develop a distance-learning model that leverages small-group instruction and learning experiences that are engaging, rigorous, and relevant. The design team is now attending to the final details, and we look forward to sharing “Ridgefield Remote” with the community very soon.

Please know that the District intends to transition to a “hybrid” model (where students spend a portion of their week at school and a portion at home) when it is safe to do so for students and staff. When that time comes, we will give families ample time to decide whether to attend school in the “hybrid” model or remain in the distance-only model.

Now that we know that we will officially be opening the school year in distance-learning, the most pressing question for many is when we will transition to a “hybrid” model. Collectively, Clark County school district superintendents are recommending using the Washington State Safe Start Phases as our regional guidepost. In Phase 3, we hope to begin transitioning to some in-person learning and supports for students where the distance-learning model provides the most significant challenges. In Phase 4, this graduated transition plan will see increased in-person experiences. As we have done since the pandemic began, we will continue to heed our public health officials’ advice and guidance.

Ultimately, our goal is to bring students back for in-person learning as quickly as conditions allow. Together, I believe we can collectively improve conditions so that a safe return to school is possible.

I hope this helps alleviate some of the anxiety around the unknowns for the opening of the upcoming school year. Thank you for your continued support of the Ridgefield School District. As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

July 23, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families

As you are aware, community spread of COVID in Clark County and Southwest Washington remains prevalent. I know how much we all yearn for a return to some semblance of normalcy, including having our children in school. However, the current public health conditions make the likelihood of an in-person start to the school year highly unlikely.

The District has spent the summer preparing to meet the many challenges posed by COVID. Building and district administration have been working with our labor partners on two viable learning options until we can once again return to a traditional, fully in-person model. One is a distance-only model, the other a “hybrid” model that combines in-person and remote learning opportunities. Tremendous progress has been made on both models, and I am confident that we will be able to safely welcome our students back into the schools at some point during the 2020-2021 school year.

The two viable learning models include a “hybrid” learning model and a “remote-only” distance-learning model. In the "hybrid" learning model, the District will divide the student population into two groups. Each group will attend school in-person two days a week, while completing remote learning the other three days. In this model, the District will ensure that families with multiple students will be assigned to the same group.

In the distance-learning model, all students will participate in a robust and predictable learning model from home five days a week. The District is committed to providing an engaging, rigorous, and relevant distance learning model taught by RSD educators. We believe this hometown connection, with our talented teaching staff leading students in their learning, makes this program superior to other distance offerings. It is our hope to share specifics on these learning models with you next week.

I know there are still many questions regarding what the 2020-2021 school year will look like. And I recognize that while this news comes as a welcome relief to some, others will be disappointed and disagree with the anticipated decision to open the school year remotely. It is not an easy decision, and I appreciate the different points of view. In-person learning is optimal, and our goal remains to bring students back for in-person learning experiences as quickly as conditions allow. Ultimately, we will continue to rely on the advice and guidance from our public health officials. The encouraging news is we can collectively improve conditions so a safe return to school is possible. I’ve added this link to a research article that provides insight into how the community’s actions can determine how and when schools will open.

Thank you for your continued support of the Ridgefield School District. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

July 14, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families

Here we are, in the middle of July, with long summer days and relaxing cool nights. I hope you are finding time to escape, rejuvenate, and unwind.

When I wrote to you on June 18, I was optimistic that we would be opening the 2020-2021 school year in a “traditional” fashion. Now, nearly a month later, I am less confident that a “traditional” start is possible.

I empathize with and share everyone’s desire to know more about what school will look like for 2020-2021. Please know, the Ridgefield School District continues to prepare for a safe and sensible in-person start, albeit today that looks like it will be in a hybrid learning model. Please also know, at least for the beginning of the year, a remote-learning model for all students remains a possibility.

Hopefully, you have heard the news; the District is also committed to running a distance-learning model. We sent the distance-learning option notice early because there are families that have already shared with us that they:

do not want their children attending schools until there is a proven vaccine;

do not want their children to attend schools wearing face masks.

It was important to make sure families knew there would be a distance-only option. Naturally, this still leaves many unanswered questions. The District is working as quickly as possible to finalize details. I am immensely grateful for the talented team of administrators, teachers, and staff working collaboratively on our reopening plans.

The first question many ask is, will more information be forthcoming before families have to decide on the learning model for their children? Yes, more specific information will be coming, and relatively soon. I can assure you that the distance-learning model will be far more robust and predictable (day-to-day fidelity) than the model we rolled out this spring. We have gained valuable experience and more preparation time that we did not have in March.

If you are interested in this option for next year, please click here to complete the registration process by July 31. We will extend the deadline if we need to give families sufficient decision-making time.

Thank you for your patience as we complete the process of putting the hybrid and distance-learning models together. As I mentioned above, I am optimistic we will have more information to share soon on each option available to families.

I hope this helps to alleviate some of the anxiety around the many unknowns for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann
Superintendent

July 8, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I hope everyone is enjoying a restful and relaxing summer. 2020 has been a challenging year and once again I extend my sincere appreciation for the grace, patience, and support our families have demonstrated. Together, we are indeed much stronger.

The District continues to work collaboratively with our partners to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year. I want to be clear that while many unknowns still exist, the District's overarching goal is to return to "traditional" in-person instruction in a safe and sensible manner. As we analyzed our stakeholder survey results it became clear that the District needs to plan for multiple learning opportunities, and that a return to in-person learning (in any form) may be more than some families are currently comfortable with. We understand that some families may want or need an online-only learning experience and we are pleased to share with you today that Ridgefield will have an online learning option available in the fall.

Please fill out the Ridgefield School District School-Based Distance Learning Registration in order to enroll your student in the online-only learning experience. Early registration will allow the District to assign your student to a distance learning teacher and allow our teachers to prepare for how to best provide this robust learning opportunity to their students. Please note - submitting a School-Based Distance Learning Registration Form confirms that your student will not attend in-person classes for at least the first Trimester (K-6th grade students) or Semester (7th - 12th grade students) of the 2020-2021 school year. Forms must be completed by Friday, July 31, 2020.

As always, stay safe and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Dr. Nathan McCann 

Superintendent

June 18, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Thank you! We braved a challenging three months together. I can think of no better way to conclude the school year than by expressing my heartfelt appreciation to all our students, families, teachers, and staff who have demonstrated daily what it means to be #RidgefieldResilient.

On Wednesday, June 10 OSPI provided guidance on the opening of schools next year. The District continues preparations for the start of the 2020-2021 school year and we are well underway for a safe and sensible opening. Our team members are excited to see the return of students, yet we all remain well aware of the work ahead. After losing almost one-third of our face-to-face instructional days, it is imperative to maximize our time with your students this coming school year. Our children are counting on us.

Based on final guidance from the state, there will be aspects of schooling that will look different from those in previous years. Cleaning and disinfecting procedures, drop-off and pick-up, meal service, recess, and even getting through the building will change. In last week's "Reopening Survey" respondents clearly expressed concern over masks. Other families feel masks play an important role in keeping everyone safe. Please understand that the current guidelines require all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks. This is not a local district decision. We will continue to monitor state guidance and will adhere to the current recommendations at the time of opening. If you have questions or comments, I encourage you to contact policymakers and express your concerns. For your convenience, names and contact information are listed below.

Legislative District 18

  • Sen. Ann Rivers, ann.rivers@leg.wa.gov
  • Rep. Larry Hoff, larry.hoff@leg.wa.gov
  • Rep. Brandon Vick, brandon.vick@leg.wa.gov

Legislative District 17

  • Sen. Lynda Wilson, lynda.wilson@leg.wa.gov
  • Rep. Vicki Kraft, vicki.kraft@leg.wa.gov
  • Rep. Paul Harris, paul.harris@leg.wa.gov

Governor’s Office – Senior Policy Advisory, Education & College Access

  • Maddy Thompson, maddy.thompson@gov.wa.gov
  • John Wiesman, jmwiesman@doh.wa.gov

Clark County Public Health

  • Questions about masks can be emailed to public.health@clark.wa.gov

The District is planning seven weekly camps starting the week of July 6. Each week we will offer different themes for the students. You can pick the week that your student would enjoy the most or sign up for the summer. Click on the link to the flyer to learn more.

Have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer!

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

June 10, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

As a father of two young boys, the past few weeks have shaken me in a way no other event has. The brutal and unconscionable killing of George Floyd has sparked protests, a collective call for equity, and an end to racism. “Where you see wrong, or inequality, or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.” - Thurgood Marshall

Our district, like society as a whole, has a long way to go to ensure equitable opportunities for all. As you know, we are in the audacious pursuit of being the state’s premier district. Foundational to that is the belief and commitment to providing a personalized learning experience for every student. To get to where we aspire, we must embrace and serve all learners. Serving all learners requires overt and consistent action to speak out against and eradicate all racist actions and behaviors. I was sharing with a school patron the other day that I keep a copy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Why We Can’t Wait” on my bookshelf. I read this book in college and it has stayed with me all these years. Watching the protests on television, I recently read Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” again. Sadly, it is as timely and pertinent as the day it was written in 1963. That is nearly sixty years ago. We can do better and we must do better!

Our District has not been stagnant in regards to our efforts to provide equitable opportunities for all students. The Ridgefield School Board adopted an Equity Philosophy (Policy 1910) in August 2018. This policy serves to guide our work daily. Additionally, the District launched an Equity and Engagement Committee two years ago. Some of the activities and outcomes from this work include:

  • a partnership with Resolutions NW Educational Equity Training to increase our understanding of implicit/unconscious bias;
  • social justice training with ESD 112;
  • book studies (ex. Unconscious Bias in Schools);
  • implementing the See Something, Say Something Initiative (from Teaching Tolerance) in our schools;
  • participation as part of the first cohort in the statewide Inclusionary Practices Consortium, and more.

The coronavirus closure has highlighted obstacles that are not equitable and their impacts on each student. As I have shared previously, we are moving our Chromebook strategy to a 1:1 take home model for all students K-12 to reduce technology barriers that some students face. (K-2 students will keep their Chromebooks at school, but have the ability for those to go home in the event of any closure.)

In April, we began work to decluster our classrooms. The goal is to ensure that our K-6 classrooms reflect our school district's demographics. Declustering is an important outcome from our involvement in the statewide Inclusionary Practices Consortium referenced above.

Finally, while we hope for a traditional start of school, we are working hard to prepare for any necessary multi-modal learning plan with equity as the focus. The plan, which we continue to craft with members of administration and our teachers’ association, seeks to provide additional support to our students most impacted by the school closures. We hope to have more information to share soon.

I’ll close as I began; while our District continues to make strides, there is still more to be done. We are all the District and your voice matters. We are committed to continuing our efforts, and we must meet all forms of inequity and racism head-on with urgency. As Nelson Mandela so eloquently stated, “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



June 3, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

The District values the opinions and ideas of the Ridgefield community. We received nearly 1,000 responses to last week's survey on how remote learning has impacted students' education. I am grateful for the grace and patience that families and students have displayed through this challenging time. Many respondents shared that the District's Continuity of Learning Plan was a tremendous undertaking and effective for the short-term. However, results have also made clear that it will not meet the educational needs of our students in the fall, should remote learning return, in part or whole.

I want a traditional 2020-2021 school year more than anything, and that is the District's goal. Work has been underway for weeks towards this end. Like you, I am incredibly concerned about the learning loss, unmet social-emotional needs, and the many additional services our students depend on that cannot be delivered with fidelity via the current distance-learning model. Despite our desires, we need to be prepared to follow the guidelines and requirements provided by other state governing bodies, including Governor Inslee, OSPI, and local and state health officials.

Using your feedback, the District will continue our work with stakeholders, including our valued bargaining units, to accomplish the following goals in preparation for the opening of school in September:

  • Review and select a consistent set of remote learning applications (i.e., Zoom) and learning platforms (i.e., Google Classroom);
  • Address families' desires for regular live video learning opportunities for students to meet with their teacher(s) in both large and small groups;
  • Create consistent schedules and expectations to support our students, families, and staff as we engage in daily remote learning.

I'll conclude with a shout-out to the Class of 2020. Your accomplishments make us all proud, and we are excited about the unlimited possibilities that await you. Go Spuds!

For those wishing to celebrate our seniors, be sure to tune in to the graduation ceremony, live-streamed on the District Facebook page on Friday, June 5, starting at 5:00 pm. The virtual graduation ceremony will also be made available on our Facebook page. The virtual ceremony includes graduate speeches, the recognition of seniors receiving awards and scholarships, the honoring of our military-bound seniors, and the celebration of senior participation in athletics and activities, as well as remarks from Principal Christen Palmer.

As always, thank you for your continued support. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

May 27, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

We are experiencing fantastic weather, with the best still to come later this week. I hope you can find some time to get out and enjoy the beauty our region offers.

As I shared last week, the prospects for a “traditional” start to the school year remain uncertain. At this point, there are far more questions than answers. I understand how frustrating this is, and I share in that frustration. Please know, the District continues to work toward a solution, within the guidance from CDC, state, and local public health professionals, and the forthcoming recommendations from the OSPI Reopening Schools Committee. There are many facets to consider, including classroom instruction, food service, transportation, childcare, cleaning/sanitizing, local labor groups, and extra-curricular activities.

Your ideas, opinions, and thoughts are another critical component in our efforts to reopen schools. Please take a moment to complete this quick Parent survey (https://forms.gle/A7bpmi32dEajmbYS6). In the weeks ahead, you will have the opportunity to provide additional feedback for the District to consider.

Ridgefield High School graduation planning is complete. On June 5, graduates will begin the ceremony with an auto parade through town and conclude at RHS, where they will individually receive their diploma.

The ceremony will include three phases. Each phase will begin at Union Ridge Elementary and follow a route along Pioneer Street and up South Hillhurst Road to the high school. The phases will commence at 4:40pm, 5:40pm, and 6:40pm. Please help support the Class of 2020 and cheer on our Seniors as they pass by in their decorated cars. Go Spuds!

I’m very proud of our Ridgefield Family Resource Center (RFRC) team's efforts as they continue to serve families during this pandemic. If your family, or a family you know, could use some assistance, please visit the RFRC. We are here to serve. The resource center is open on Mondays 1:00pm – 5:00 pm, Wednesdays from 12:00pm – 4:00pm and on Thursdays from 1:00pm – 6:30pm. You can make an appointment outside of our regular hours by emailing christine.poppert@ridgefieldsd.org

I have often stated since the closing of schools that grace is something we all need to extend to each other during these difficult times. Our team, teachers, school board members, administrators, and support staff are committed to serving each child to ensure success and unlimited possibilities. Your active involvement is crucial toward that end. I offer my heartfelt thanks for all the support and goodwill that you have extended to the District.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

May 20, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

We are now less than one month from the official end of our school year, June 19. I am proud of our community and the work we have done to “flatten the curve.” The task has not been easy, and it has not come without considerable sacrifice. Once again, I extend my appreciation to each of you for the grace and patience you have demonstrated as we transitioned to our distance learning model.

More specifically, I wish to thank the members of the Class of 2020 for their sacrifices. Their RHS careers came to a screeching halt three months early. Our seniors missed experiencing a number of “lasts;” their last game and performance, last lunch at school with friends, last prom, and many more. Fortunately, we can do something to give them a memorable send-off. On June 5, as part of our graduation ceremony, seniors and their families will drive through Ridgefield in an auto parade. I invite you to join me in safely celebrating their accomplishments and commemorating the conclusion of their K-12 experience. Look for final parade route details on June 1.

Just as we are focusing on the conclusion of the current school year, we are also looking ahead to next year. Rest assured, the District is working hard, planning and preparing for another school year with the realities of COVID - more on some of these plans to come later in this letter. What we know for sure, learning will continue. I encourage each of you to continue to engage in every learning opportunity that our staff are making available.

We are pleased to share that our remote WiFi Hot Spots are being accessed by families. We plan to continue this service to support our Continuity of Learning Plan. As with all our programs, we will continue to monitor use, potentially adjusting the locations to reach more families. If you are looking for connectivity a little closer to home, below is a link to free and low-cost Internet Plans from NDIA (National Digital Inclusion Alliance). https://www.digitalinclusion.org/free-low-cost-internet-plans/

We supported our Continuity of Learning Plan with the distribution of more than 750 Chromebooks to students. A reliable device is essential to participation in any distance learning model. In a previous ThoughtExchange, we heard from respondents that flexibility in learning (time, place, and pace) is a benefit of our new remote learning world.

As we look to the 2020-2021 school year, we are reviewing our district technology model to support a more flexible learning environment. Specifically, the district is exploring the move to a 1:1 Chromebook take home model. What might this look like? Our second through 12th grade students will be provided a district Chromebook in the fall for use at home and in school, rather than keeping all the Chromebooks on charging carts in classrooms. This will allow student learning to continue beyond the “regular” school day, times, and locations.

The opening of the 2020-2021 school year will be much different than any we have experienced before. There is so much that is still unknown. What I can tell you is currently, I do not believe a “traditional” start will be possible. A reopening schools task force is expected to have recommendations by mid-June. We continue to work closely with our fellow districts, colleagues at OSPI, and members of the public health community. I will keep you updated as we know more.

With all that said, summer may provide a window where we can offer more in-person opportunities for students. To the greatest extent possible, we will operate our summer programming. This includes running summer camps through Community Education, sports camps, and preparations for the fall sports season. I share this with the caveat that we will always adhere to the “Safe Start” orders in place at the time.

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent




May 13, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

This past weekend was beautiful. I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the sunshine while honoring all the moms in our community. As I look out the window, it seems our more typical spring weather has returned. I’m looking forward to enjoying the warm summer afternoons.

Last night the School Board spent significant time considering the vast array of unknowns and potential obstacles we face as we look forward to the 2020-2021 school year. I mentioned last week that the Governor has established a path for our return...Safe Start. I am grateful for the state guidance as it, along with the extensive work being done internally here in the District, will aid us in decision-making.

As we mentioned in our most recent ThoughtExchange, the District wants to use the COVID closure to positively shape the future of education in Ridgefield. Last week we asked you to share with us the best aspects of the Continuity of Learning Plan. Below is the word cloud that summarizes the 145 individual Thoughts that were shared with us.

Earlier this week we launched additional temporary WiFi hotspot locations to expand connectivity options for our families. Additional WiFi Hotspots in the region can be located using the Washington State Drive-In WiFi Hotspots Location Finder from the Washington State Department of Commerce. The Ridgefield Community Center is identified on this site.

https://www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/washington-state-drive-in-wifi-hotspots-location-finder/

If you are looking for connectivity a little closer to home, below is a link to free and low-cost Internet Plans from NDIA (National Digital Inclusion Alliance)

https://www.digitalinclusion.org/free-low-cost-internet-plans/

More than 28,000 meals have been served by our Food Service partner, Chartwells since the COVID-19 closure. We have been monitoring meal service daily to make adjustments as needed to maximize our resources. Based on the data collected, we are going to be making some changes to our weekend meal service. Beginning May 23, we will no longer be hosting drive-up or in-person meal service sites on Saturdays and Sundays. Rather, we will be providing weekend meals during Friday meal service. We believe this will expand the number of meals we serve, as we average nearly 250 more children on Fridays than the weekend combined.

Thank you for your continued support. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent 


May 6, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Let me begin this update with a flurry of thank yous! Today is National Nurses Day (marking the start of National Nurses Week) and the perfect time to give a well-deserved shout-out to our school nurses and every nurse in the Ridgefield community. Please help me send a special thank you to all the nurses in our community that continue to serve during this trying time. Post your appreciation and tag it #RidgefieldResilient.

Amazing stories of celebration and student learning continue to make their way to the District. I am so impressed with everyone’s dedication and effort to move forward in this new remote learning world. I want to take a moment to thank all of our educators this week - National Teacher Appreciation Week. Thank you for your continued exemplary service during this stressful time. And thank you also to every student and family member who has taken time this week to celebrate the educators making a difference in their lives.

As the weather continues to warm, it reinforces how much I look forward to re-engaging with students, staff, and community members in person. A pathway to that end is now in place. As you know, Governor Inslee’s “Safe Start” order articulates a phased approach to opening Washington State back up. You can learn more by reading the Governor’s “Safe Start” order.

High school graduation is a monumental culminating point for both students and their families. A moment in time where we honor our senior students. The District has weighed many factors (some of which are listed below) to reach our final graduation decision. Ridgefield High School will hold a graduation ceremony on Friday, June 5. You can find an overview of graduation in RHS Principal Christen Palmer’s letter to Spudder families.

  • A survey of senior students and their parents revealed that many seniors and parents still want graduation to be on June 5.
  • We cannot guarantee a traditional in-person graduation later in the summer
    • Admittedly, the Governor’s phase-in approach will allow for groups of greater than 50 in Phase 4, but he has not provided specific dates for subsequent phases to begin. Instead, we will advance from stage to stage based on the state’s dashboard data.
  • Given that graduation has been scheduled all year for June 5, we are confident that all students can participate on that day. The longer we would go into the summer means that we might begin losing students who will be going into the military, moving, working elsewhere, etc. from being able to attend.

From the beginning, the District has been committed to supporting our students with technology. With that in mind, Chromebooks for students that are still in need can be picked up Monday through Friday from 9 am - 4 pm at the RACC. This is a check-out process and takes a little longer, so please be patient. You will need to return the Chromebook by 4 pm on June 19 to the RACC. Additionally, our shipment of hot spots has arrived. We will provide hotspot internet access starting Tuesday, May 12 from 9:00 am - noon at five different locations. Look for the KWRL bus.

  • Cowlitz Crossing (gas station/convenience store at ilani)
  • Rosauers Supermarket
  • Mt. View Christian Academy
  • Whipple Creek 7th Day Adventist Church
  • Pioneer Vista Apartments


Later this week, the District will launch another ThoughtExchange. We invite you to participate. While we understand the trials and tribulations associated with our new remote learning world, we also believe there are hidden benefits. This week we are asking you to think about and share the best aspect of our new remote learning. We want to take this opportunity to think about how we might be able to shape the educational experience for our students, staff, parents, and community in the future.

Finally, I wish to send a heartfelt “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the moms in the Ridgefield School District. Celebrating this Mother’s Day will be different, but no less special. I look forward to dropping a gift off at my parent’s house for my mom and spending some quality time this Sunday, watching our boys celebrate Amanda.

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


April 29, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

As we see signs of light at the end of the tunnel, I am reminded of the special community we have here in Ridgefield. Whether through direct communication with families or during our weekly principal meetings, I hear story after story about the great work our teaching staff is doing in challenging conditions. Similarly, teachers and administrators are sharing success stories of their own, highlighting examples of outstanding student work products. I am deeply indebted to everyone for their efforts; thank you!

Though this has been a difficult time, I remain comforted by the fact that we will all come together again. That is why we must continue to ensure that our children remain actively engaged in the instruction our teachers are providing throughout these final seven weeks. This will ensure that our students are well-prepared for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Last night, the District honored our April employee and students of the month recipients remotely. While it is not nearly the same as celebrating in person, we treasured the opportunity to celebrate outstanding contributions to our schools. Please join me in congratulating our employee of the month, Kody Eastham (Maintenance department) and the following students of the month:

  • Meghan Miller (Early Learning Center)
  • Jaden Mitchell (South Ridge)
  • Amelia Meade (Union Ridge)
  • Kylee Clarke-Henderson (Sunset Ridge)
  • Nolan Meek (View Ridge)
  • Zackery Wells (Ridgefield High School)

Last week our ThoughtExchange focused on the challenges you are experiencing with the District’s “Continuity of Learning” Plan. As we have come to expect, participation was phenomenal. We had 329 participants, 283 unique Thoughts with 4491 ratings. Attached is the Word Cloud. Please know that we will be using your feedback to help fine-tune our plan moving forward.

A couple of pieces of feedback we received that we are taking action on immediately include connectivity and a need for additional instructional devices.

The District has received its order of hotspots. Once our tech departments make the appropriate adjustments to them we will be placing the hotspots throughout the district to assist with connectivity issues experienced by some of our students.

The District will once again distribute Chromebooks only this time it’s on a check-out (loaner) basis. Parents/Guardians or students over the age of 18 will be required to sign the Ridgefield Chromebook Checkout agreement (click here ). You may use the Chromebook during the entirety of the school closure. You will then return the Chromebook to the district office no later than 4:00 PM on Friday, June 19th, 2020. The distribution will take place at the Ridgefield Administrative & Civic Center (RACC, 510 Pioneer St.) on Friday, May 1st. Distribution will be as follows:

9:00 am - 11:00 am Grades 9-12

11:00 am - 1:00 pm Grades 5-8

1:00 pm - 3:00pm Grades K-4

As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent




April 22, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced new rules that Washington state school districts must follow concerning student learning and grading. You can use this link to read the document in its entirety. This guidance will enhance statewide consistency while still allowing for some local flexibility.

What does this new guidance mean for our students?

K-6th:

  • End of year report cards will have an asterisk (*) in the final grading column. This will denote that the grading period was interrupted by the COVID-19 closure.
  • Teachers will communicate individual student engagement and growth related to essential standards.

7th-8th:

  • End of year report cards will have an asterisk (*) in the final grading column. This will denote that the grading period was interrupted by the COVID-19 closure.
  • Teachers will communicate individual student engagement and growth related to essential standards.
  • Staff will continue to provide weekly "expectation" grades.

9th-12th:

  • End of year report cards will have a COVID-19 designator, developed by the State. This will denote the grading period was interrupted by the COVID-19 closure.
  • Semester grades were frozen as of March 17. Students may improve grades in their individual classes, but will not be assigned any final grades lower than the grades they earned in their classes as of March 17.
  • The grading scale will be A-D, with the addition of an "I" for an Incomplete grade. An "F" grade may not be given for the final semester. If a student's grade on March 17 was an "F" and was not improved through distance learning, the student will be assigned an "I."
  • Any "I" grade will result in no credit being awarded for that semester course. Students receiving an "I" will work with the high school regarding opportunities to earn the credit through a variety of options.
  • Staff will be providing feedback to students/parents about how to improve their proficiency in grades.

The District's "Continuity of Learning" Plan will be adjusted to reflect this new guidance from OSPI.

We understand this is a global pandemic, a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) event that is rocking the world we know. For some families, nearly everything has changed. For others, perhaps the impact has been less severe. Our team recognizes that different families desire and need different amounts of learning opportunities. The goal is to provide as many learning experiences as possible to align with "regular" school closely, and that includes specialties like art, music, PE, etc.

Understandably, those may not be a priority for you and your children right now. You can select where you draw the line, the learning your children engage in, and the learning that you choose for now to take a pass on. Those opportunities will be there later as well if you decide to opt-in at that point. We do not want families trying to do more than they can handle at any given point; it leads to frustration and diminishing returns. I know in my family we are using the beach analogy, slowly wading in, and then venturing a little farther at a time as we become comfortable with the waves and water temperature. We expect we will get better with this over time as a family. This line of thinking gives us permission to extend some grace to ourselves, the school district, and everyone else. We're all going through this for the first time.

We are here to support you and your family. Please let me know if we can be of any additional assistance.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent       

April 21, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I have said many, many times that Ridgefield is a special place. Last Friday was another shining example of #RidgefieldResilient and our community’s deep connections. The line of cars stretched well down Royle...all to honor the Senior Class of 2020. We have heard from many of you that the night brought you to tears. Know that we love our Seniors and are working hard to make the end of their Ridgefield education memorable.

Yesterday, South Ridge Elementary School staff drove through various neighborhoods honoring their students and families. This is yet another example of our community coming together to show support and appreciation. Much love to our Roadrunners!

Last week we launched our second ThoughtExchange interactive survey. We asked you to share what resources and supports would be helpful to ensure students are successful with our new online learning world. We heard from 434 individuals; thank you for your participation. There were 313 unique “Thoughts” shared and nearly 6000 “Thought” ratings. I was especially grateful for the 117 students who participated. Your voice matters! Attached is a word cloud that highlights the most frequently used words.

The top three rated “Thoughts” are:

  1. “An agenda. I appreciate teachers who send out a weekly agenda with everything that is expected and info for practice.”
  2. “Since many students are doing independent learning at their own time, it’d be helpful if posted assignments were titled by DATE and DUE DATE. Example: THURSDAY 4/16: Video on Chapter 14. DUE FRIDAY 4/17.”
  3. “Time and organizational skills. There’s a lot to keep track of.”

Your feedback will be helpful as we continue to move forward with our Continuity of Learning plan. Please look for another opportunity to share your perspective with the District later this week when we release our next “Thought”.

A quick reminder that next Monday (April 27), our schools will be in session. This day originally was scheduled as a teacher workday. With the adjusted calendar, the school year concludes on Friday, June 19. Currently, we are planning to open the 2020-2021 school year in typical fashion on Tuesday, September 1.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools. As always, stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



April 14, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

In some ways it feels like just yesterday, and in other ways it feels like a year ago...so much has happened and so much has changed, but one significant thing remains constant, the resiliency of Ridgefield. I firmly believe that our resilience will enable us to become more connected as a community when we return. #RidgefieldResilient indeed!

This Friday, April 17, the District will honor our RHS Seniors by participating in the “Be the Light” campaign. We will be turning on both the stadium and RORC lights at 8:20 pm (20:20 in 24-hour time) for 20 minutes and twenty seconds. We invite you to join us in recognizing the Class of 2020 by turning on your porch lights at 8:20 pm. We also ask all senior families to drive by the stadium and/or RORC and honk your horns, bang pots and pans, etc. to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating senior class. Please know, the District still intends to hold a graduation ceremony. More information to come.

The District continues to provide both breakfast and lunch to the children of Ridgefield. Last week alone, there were over 3800 meals provided. The District will continue to provide meals through June 19, the last day of remote learning. Follow the link for pick up times and locations. Meals

Last week we launched our first Thought Exchange, seeking examples of #RidgefieldResilient. Nearly 500 individuals participated in this first Thought, sharing 167 unique examples and casting 3032 ratings. Attached, please find a word cloud that highlights the most frequently shared thoughts. We will release another Thought for discussion tomorrow (Wednesday, April 15).

We officially began our Continuity of Learning Plan today to support students through remote learning. Should you need paper materials, please email your request to your child’s teacher. Once the print materials are available, your teacher will notify you that they are ready and can be picked up at the RACC.

As of today, the District has distributed over 650 Chromebooks to students in the community. This is far greater than we originally anticipated the need to be. The District is down to a limited supply of Chromebooks. Therefore, we will now only be providing one (1) per household, as the Chromebooks are intended for homes without any other device to use during this time of remote learning. The next distribution day will be this Friday from 9:00-11:00 and 1:00-3:00 at the RACC, 510 Pioneer Street.

As always, thank you for your continued support. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent 


April 7, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

Yesterday afternoon Governor Jay Inslee ordered all public and private schools in the state of Washington to remain closed through the end of the school year. As painful as this may be, this is the right call. While our schools will remain closed, learning will continue! As you know, our “Continuity of Learning” Plan is already in place and we shared the plan with you last week. This week, students are engaging in SEL (social-emotional learning) review lessons to prepare for core academic learning starting next week. To facilitate online learning, the District has distributed nearly 600 Chromebooks to families and an additional 150 Chromebooks are ready for disbursement this Friday.

Many defining moments occur during our lives. One of the most monumental is high school graduation. Please know that the Ridgefield School District is committed to a live, in-person graduation ceremony. Ultimately, when and where it takes place, and what the event explicitly looks like, remain to be determined. Our goal is to hold a ceremony that prioritizes health and safety and maximizes connectedness to the fullest extent possible.

Other defining moments occur through academic and athletic competitions. In keeping with the Governor’s directive, the WIAA has canceled the spring sports season. This means many of our students will not have an opportunity to showcase their talents and create lasting memories. Gone too are our spring musical and theatrical performances. Please know our hearts go out to all students and families.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the District has remained resolute in its commitment to continue meal service to students. Last week alone, we served 3412 meals to children. Meal service through the end of the year will continue as scheduled Mondays - Fridays. Please click on the link for pick up locations and times.

We are relaunching student meal service on the weekends, beginning this Saturday, April 11. All children 0-18 may pick up breakfast and lunch from 11:00 am - noon at Union Ridge Elementary School on Saturdays and Sundays.

While I am sure you have questions, know we will do our best to keep you informed as we move forward. The Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is in place until May 4. Our goal is that once the order is lifted, we will slowly open the buildings to allow students to gather their personal belongings.

As always, thank you for your continued support. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent


April 1, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

On Monday, April 6, the Ridgefield School District will begin school online. The first week will focus on social-emotional learning lessons that the whole family can participate in to help get students ready to engage in a more rigorous and structured virtual learning environment.

Monday morning, you will receive an email through Skyward Messenger, as well as an automated phone call, letting you know that the social-emotional learning lessons are available on the District website.

Over the last several weeks, the District has worked collaboratively with Ridgefield teacher leaders to craft our “Continuity of Learning” plan. I wish to thank each member of that team, administrators and teachers, for their hard work and dedication to our students and families. To see the plan in its entirety, click here .

This is a wholly different endeavor than our traditional school structure. We are fully committed to continuous improvement. We anticipate, and frankly predict, there will be hiccups and speeds bumps as we get started. We ask for your patience and grace as we begin this journey together.

We look forward to resuming school on Monday. Enjoy the rest of your spring break. Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



March 24, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

I know this is an incredibly stressful time. Like you, I closely follow the news on the novel coronavirus spread, and so much of the news is scary. Given that, this update will focus on our #RidgefieldResilient efforts.

We have served nearly 1500 meals during the closure so far, including 288 today. Words cannot adequately express my deep appreciation for the work of our Chartwells food services team. I am pleased to announce that meal service for children 0-18 will continue during our spring break (March 30 – April 4). Look for more information soon.

Another example of #RidgefieldResilient is the effort to distribute Chromebooks to our students lacking technology devices at home. The distribution will begin later this week, with more details to come. If you still have a need and haven’t yet signed up, please email chromebooks@ridgefieldsd.org with your child(ren)’s name and grade level.

Additionally, we are exploring options to bring open-access WiFi hotspots to areas throughout the District, beginning the week of April 6. As specific details become available, I will share it with you.

Daycare for students who are in kindergarten through fourth grade and are the children of first responders and health care professionals will begin on Monday, April 6. This program will be at the RACC, and the hours of operation are tentatively set from 7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Our Ridgefield Family Resource Center continues to be a vital support for families throughout the District. Much thanks to the team (including a dedicated group of volunteers) who make this happen daily.

While the need is great and the timing would dictate now, the School Board is committed to keeping our focus where it needs to be, fighting the spread of coronavirus and serving our students and families during this difficult time. Therefore, tonight it is anticipated the Board will take action on a resolution postponing the bond election until August.

Stay well and remain #RidgefieldResilient.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent



March 17, 2020

Greetings Ridgefield Families,

Here is the latest news, information, and updates. Starting yesterday, the Ridgefield School District implemented a student meal service for all students ages 0-18 at Union Ridge and South Ridge. On the first day, we served 41 students, and today we served 94 students. As we see the need increasing, we will continue to look for ways to expand our service model. Stay tuned for more information.

The District is proud to share with you today that one of our learning partners, Imagine Learning, is providing a license for all K-6 students in the District. Imagine Learning is an online language and literacy tool, tailored to each child’s individual learning needs. More information is attached to this letter.

The District understands the educational impact that comes with a six-week school closure. With that in mind, we are in the process of preparing practice and resource packets to help families as we all work collectively to support our children.

Many of the resources today are online, requiring computer devices and broadband connectivity. We know this presents an obstacle for some of our families. The District has student Chromebooks scheduled for replacement after the academic year. With schools closed, the technology department is working hard to ready these devices for distribution to students through our Ridgefield Family Resource Center. Please email Chris Poppert at christine.poppert@ridgefieldsd.org to get your name on the list if your child lacks a device. We will let you know as soon as they are available for distribution.

I encourage families in need of internet access to read the following link, highlighting Comcast’s efforts to provide Xfinity WiFi: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/technology/...

COVID-19 and the actions we are taking to fight the virus are unprecedented in my lifetime. However, tough times have a way of bringing out the best in people. In Ridgefield, we spend a lot of time talking about the three R’s, Responsible, Respectful, Resilient. Although the efforts the District has made to combat the virus has disrupted our daily routines, I see example after example of resiliency in action. The District is known for our PursuingPremier hashtag. While we pull together during this national crisis, the District will conclude social media posts with #RidgefieldResilient. I encourage each of you to join the District and use this hashtag to share inspiring stories of resilience that you observe.

Stay healthy and thank you for your continued support of our schools and community.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan McCann

Superintendent

March 13, 2020

Dear Ridgefield Families,

As promised, I am reaching back out to you with the most recent developments involving the spread of the novel coronavirus. Just a few moments ago, Governor Jay Inslee ordered all Washington K-12 schools closed through April 24. Ridgefield will close, effective end of business today.

We are proud of the many services we provide our students and families and understand that the community depends on us being there. We are in the midst of a state, national, and frankly, global crisis. It is imperative that we do our part to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

For Ridgefield, the impact includes the following:

  • All athletics, clubs and events are canceled;
  • The school calendar is modified to include the following make-up days—April 27, June 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19. The District will apply for a state waiver for the additional missed days;
  • As of now, RHS graduation will be held as scheduled on June 5;
  • Breakfast and lunch service for students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals will continue. More information will be forthcoming;
  • Daycare will be available for families, with children in grades K-4, in the medical fields, first responders, and families unable to find alternative care. More details forthcoming.
  • We will continue to keep you updated. Please check your email, social media, and the District website regularly.

    I have every confidence in our community to rise and meet this challenge. As always, thank you for your continued support.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Nathan McCann

    Superintendent


    March 12, 2020

    Dear Ridgefield Families,

    I write to you this afternoon with an update on the District’s continuing work developing contingency plans in the event of a long-term closure caused by the novel coronavirus. I shared with our staff earlier today that for me, one of the most unsettling elements in this crisis is the uncertainty and lack of personal control that surrounds the entire situation. I take comfort in getting up to date information. I hope this update provides a bit of comfort to you.

    Our top priority is the health and well-being of our entire community. Stopping the spread of coronavirus must be the lens through which decision-making is made. We take our role in supporting this effort seriously. To this end, we remain in regular contact with our local public health officials as well as state officials, including the Governor’s Office, OSPI, and the Department of Health.

    As you may already be aware, earlier today Governor Inslee closed all K-12 public and private schools in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, valid through April 24. That order impacts approximately 600,000 students or more than half of our entire state’s K-12 population.

    Effective immediately, the Ridgefield School District is implementing the following restrictions until further notice. This includes:

  • Student activities and athletics are restricted to travel within the ESD 112 region (Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Pacific, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties);
  • Visiting student participants will be limited to those within the region as well;
  • Athletic practices and club meetings will continue as scheduled for now;
  • Community Education activities and classes are suspended, beginning March 14;
  • District facilities are closed to all external rental groups;
  • Large non-essential indoor student and adult gatherings such as music and theater performances, assemblies, and team banquets are postponed or canceled.
  • Please know, additional sanitizing and disinfecting protocols are already in place at all District facilities. However, the District’s diligent sanitizing procedures do not replace best practices of remaining home when students exhibit flu-like symptoms, proper handwashing, covering your coughs and sneezes, and adhering to social-distancing practices wherever possible.

    We will continue to provide you with updates.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Nathan McCann

    Superintendent

    March 11, 2020

    Dear Ridgefield Families,

    Today, Governor Inslee announced that events and gatherings with more than 250 people in attendance in the Seattle Metro area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties) are prohibited until March 31. This proclamation has been enacted to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, the Governor and Public Health Seattle & King County asked school districts in those counties to prepare for potential school closures that could conceivably last weeks or months.

    The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly evolving, and there is the potential that additional limitations may be implemented in other regions of the state, including ours.

    Student, staff, and the entire Ridgefield community’s health and safety is our top priority. Every decision we make is with that priority in mind.

    At this time, the Ridgefield School District is canceling participation in events outside of the ESD 112 region (Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Pacific, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties). This includes playing host to teams and clubs from outside the area.

    It is possible that more restrictions, up to and including school closure, like those the Seattle Metro area are preparing for, will be implemented in our area.

    We are preparing contingency plans with our neighboring districts in Clark County. Please know, as of right now, the recommendation from Clark County Public Health related to schools in Clark County has not changed.

    The coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented crisis. It is in moments like this that I am particularly grateful to live and serve in our great community. Together, we are stronger, and together we will get through this stressful time.

    We will continue to be in regular communication with you as we work through these issues.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Nathan McCann

    Superintendent

    March 7, 2020

    Dear Ridgefield families,

    While there are no cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in any Ridgefield Schools, the Clark County Health Department announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Clark County. The confirmed case and the small number of people who had close contact with the individual are in quarantine. An update from Public Health is available at https://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/close-conta...

    This is an evolving situation, and we remain in regular communication with the health department officials. We will rely on public health officials’ guidance to make the best decisions for the health of students/staff and families.

    Steps the district is taking to keep students and staff healthy and safe:

  • We are evaluating student and staff participation in events that require travel outside of the district on a daily and case by case basis. In general, the district follows the lead of the host organization and any additional guidance from public health officials regarding cancellation of events. Parents and guardians always make the final decision on whether their student will attend events outside of our district.
  • We are reviewing planned district events through the end of spring break. The district and individual schools will be providing updates on an ongoing basis, so please watch for changes.
  • If the COVID-19 illness spreads more broadly, we will follow the guidance and recommendations of public health officials.
  • Prevent the spread of illness:
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Stay home and away from others when sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Plan for childcare:
  • Begin making plans for childcare at home if your child gets sick or if school is cancelled due to the spread of illness. The district will give families as much notice as possible. Please know this could happen with very short notice.
  • If a school in the district (or the district entirely) is directed to close by public health officials, the same process for a snow day will be followed, including closing facilities, rescheduling of athletic and extracurricular practices and events, and closure of before/after school programs. The district will schedule makeup days and consider whether to pursue a waiver of missed days.
  • Stay informed through official channels:

    The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) website and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website are excellent resources for official information and are updated regularly. If you have specific questions, you may call the DOH information line at 1-800-525-0127 and press #. You can also find resources about COVID-19, including how to talk to your kids about the illness at www.esd112.org/coronavirus-resources. There is a direct link from our school district homepage.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Nathan McCann

    Superintendent

    March 2, 2020

    Good evening Ridgefield Parents/Guardians,

    If you are like me, you are closely following the developing situation around the noel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Please know, student and staff health and safety are the District’s top priority.

    With that in mind, tomorrow (Tuesday, March 3) every student in the Ridgefield School District will watch an age-appropriate video on proper handwashing technique. Additionally, students will view and discuss a “Stop the Spread of Germs” poster created by the Center for Disease Control. Teachers may also show and discuss an engaging 3-minute video about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. The links to the hand-washing videos are listed below, and I have attached the poster.

    Ridgefield School District will continue to closely monitor the situation, take precautions, and follow the recommendations from our local and state health agencies. We will continue to keep you updated.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Nathan McCann

    Superintendent