Vancouver Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
Superintendents argue for higher prioritization of vaccinations for educators - 01/11/21

Southwest Washington’s two largest school districts, Evergreen and Vancouver public schools, are urging health officials and Gov. Jay Inslee to re-prioritize vaccinations for educators. Both districts plan to begin returning more students to classrooms for in-person learning beginning Jan. 19 in accordance with the governor and Washington state Department of Health’s latest guidelines.

The current vaccination schedule gives school district employees the opportunity for vaccination in February or April 2021 depending on age. Superintendents Mike Merlino, Evergreen, and Steve Webb, Vancouver, are advocating for consolidation of the vaccination windows. In the attached letter to Gov. Inslee and health officials, the superintendents asked that all school district employees, regardless of age, be placed in Phase 1, B2, of the state’s vaccination schedule, allowing this group to be vaccinated in February. 

“In addition to the Center for Disease Control COVID mitigation strategies, vaccinating all preK–12 employees at the same time will add another layer of protection for our staff, students and families,” said Superintendent Steve Webb. 

To assist this effort, the districts have offered the help of trained staff and the use of their facilities as vaccination sites.

Evergreen and Vancouver are among the state of Washington’s 10 largest school districts. Combined the districts employ about 6,600 staff members and serve approximately 50,000 students.

Information about the district’s plans for hybrid learning is available on Vancouver and Evergreen’s websites.

VPS superintendent will recommend transitions to hybrid learning - 01/08/21

At a regular meeting of the Vancouver Public Schools board of directors Tuesday, Jan. 12, Superintendent Steve Webb will propose transition dates for deliberation and discussion to provide more VPS students with in-person instruction.

The superintendent’s recommendation is consistent with new guidelines issued last month by Washington Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Health. It also is similar to plans announced recently by other Clark County school districts including the county’s largest district, Evergreen Public Schools.

VPS already is serving kindergarten and at-risk students in small groups with a combination of remote and in-person instruction. The district is following all health and safety guidelines.

Families will continue to have the option to keep their children in full remote learning.

Recommended timeline for hybrid learning:

  • Jan. 19    Kindergarten
  • Jan. 25     Grades 1-2
  • Feb. 1    Grades 3-5

Transition to hybrid learning for middle school students could occur in February contingent on whether COVID-19 transmission levels in Clark County are within the new guidelines (moderate: 50-350 cases/100K/14 days). Transition to hybrid learning for grades 9-12 could occur in March contingent on case rates (state case rate guidelines are 200/100K/14 days).

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) recently announced that fall athletics and activities for high school can resume in February.

Student hybrid schedules: 

During hybrid learning, students will attend school in person two days per week:

  • Monday/Tuesday—A group
  • Thursday/Friday—B group

The other three days per week will be spent in remote learning.

Elementary hybrid schedule (19 schools) – 8:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Elementary hybrid schedule (Lincoln and Minnehaha) – 9:10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Details about assigned groups and specific schedules will be provided to each family prior to the start of hybrid learning.

“With the necessary protocols in place, I am confident that we can provide hybrid learning safely in our elementary and middle schools,” said Webb. “Given the limitations of remote learning, it is essential that we begin the process of bringing more students back onto our campuses for in-person instruction.

“There must be a collective effort across our community to enable the start of hybrid learning by working to reduce transmission. Please mask up, social distance and avoid gatherings. We all play a role in opening schools.”

Written comments on the superintendent’s recommendation can be submitted to the school board at oard.directors@vansd.org">vpsboard.directors@vansd.org in advance of the Jan. 12 meeting.

Recall of some furloughed staff members - 01/07/21

All paraeducators, secretaries and clerks who were temporarily furloughed in September have been recalled to work and had their hours reinstated as small groups of students have returned to classrooms for in-person learning.

One-hundred fifteen employees were recalled to support in-person kindergarten instruction in November, and 237 have been recalled as students most at risk begin in-person learning today, Jan. 7. The recalled employees also will provide support as the district prepares to bring additional students into the classroom following new guidance released last month by Gov. Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health.

The employees—members of the Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals—provide classroom and school office support. Many VAESP staff, as well as staff members including bus drivers and cafeteria employees, were furloughed or had their hours reduced in September when the district began the school year in full remote instruction.

The furloughs were reluctantly approved by the board of directors on Sept. 8 in light of a projected budget shortfall due to a decline in enrollment and added expenses related to the pandemic.