April 14, 2020
RE: Extended School Year Closure
Dear SPARC Preschool Families,
I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy. As you have already heard, Governor Inslee has extended the school closure through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For most, this news comes with mixed emotions. On one hand, we are relieved our most vulnerable will have a decreased risk of exposure to the virus. On the other hand, we are concerned about the potential loss of skills our students have gained. I imagine you are wondering about your child’s educational and therapeutic services; what it will look like or if it will even happen? With that, I want to present SPARC’s plan for the remainder of the school year.
First, SPARC will be following the guidance of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). We will prioritize decisions and actions based on health and safety first, communication with families, and then consider requirements of IDEA and Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 392-172A, including the need to update IEPs and provide Written Prior Notices.
With that said, to ensure the health and safety of all, SPARC will be offering learning opportunities through a virtual platform. Even though your child will not be attending classes face-to-face, your child’s teacher/therapist will be finding ways to connect with you and your child virtually. Specifically, teachers will be recording themselves reading a book, signing songs, doing a fun activity, etc. These activities will be planned with consideration of your child’s specific developmental needs outlined on their IEP. These recordings will be made available to you via a virtual platform. You will need access to a computer, laptop, cell phone or Chromebook and have internet access. If this is a need for you, please let your teacher/therapist know as we will have access to devices that can be loaned out. If you haven’t already heard from your child’s teacher/therapist, you will. Please let them know if you have any concerns or if your child has had any developmental changes during this time. Feel free to contact the teacher/therapist at any time. No need to wait for them to call you.
Second, many are wondering if they can still have your child’s IEP meeting? Yes. SPARC will be offering virtual meetings to all families whose child’s IEP is due during this closure. If you would prefer a face-to-face meeting, this can be done once the social distancing restriction has been lifted. However, SPARC would like to complete as many as we can in alignment with the original due date in order to prevent a backup once we’re functioning as before.
As we get settled into our new routine, we’ll be sure to keep you informed about any updates or new resources. In the meantime, our priority is everyone’s safety. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Feel to contact me directly or share your ideas with your child’s teacher/therapist.
Thanks again for your patience. Stay healthy and safe.
Executive Director 360-416-7570 ext.1002
Coronavirus District Update March 13, 2020
Skagit County public schools know that the past few weeks have been stressful for many in our communities because of the continued spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. We are grateful to all of our staff and families for navigating this situation with our school districts.
Following the guidance of Washington State Governor Jay Inslee this afternoon, all Skagit County public schools will be closed beginning next Tuesday, March 17 through at least April 24, 2020.
The reasons for this recommendation include the following:
● The state’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to expand
● Schools have a significant number of staff members and students who fall within the high-risk categories
All Skagit County public schools will be open Monday, March 16. Parents should retrieve any of their child’s medications and other essential personal items that they need to have with them while schools are closed.
Closing schools now will help to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Although children are not likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, they can spread it to others who are at high risk. We expect to receive further guidance from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in the coming days and will provide an update as soon as we are able.
We want to assure the community that this is not a decision we have made lightly or without considerable thought and consideration. As superintendents, we regularly make challenging decisions and this has been the most difficult in any of our careers. We recognize and understand the impact this will have on our families, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
Additionally, we are working on plans to determine what childcare options we may be able to offer for first responders and healthcare workers. Each school district will also be evaluating how we can best meet the nutritional needs of our students. We will be sharing more information about these items as soon as plans and details are finalized.
Additional information will be coming to staff and families in the coming days for each school district. We will share this information via email, as well as posting on school websites and social media channels as applicable. Please remember, this is an unprecedented event and is evolving rapidly.
The legislature is considering action to address graduation timelines and course credit. However, it is understood at this time that the school year will not continue past June 19, 2020. We will know more as time goes on. We are working with the Governor, OSPI, Superintendents across the state, public health advisors from across the state along with our local community leaders and administration to do what is best for our students, staff, families and community members. At this time, reducing the spread of this disease is the best strategy for all.
Carl Bruner, Superintendent
Dear Parents and Community members,
The Staff at SPARC proactively continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We realize the importance of communication as we work to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students. We are taking the necessary and precautionary steps to stay vigilant of this wide spread virus. SPARCs’ first priority is the students we serve, our staff and the community at large. We have communicated to staff the importance of not coming to work if they feel symptomatic. In addition, if a child appears sick, parents are advised to keep their child at home. We take the safety of our students, families, and staff seriously and want you to be assured that we are utilizing daily classroom disinfecting procedures. We are also encouraging students and staff to practice frequent hand washing, especially before and after mealtimes, recess and restroom breaks. As we wade through these uncharted waters, SPARC, remains steadfast in staying up-to-date with information and guidelines provided by local and state public health officials, the Mount Vernon School District and other agency partners as it becomes available.
Below are links for additional information and material on the COVID-19.
Washington Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Coronavirus/Workplace
Mount Vernon School District: http://www.mountvernonschools.org/node/2384
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 360-416-7570 or you can email us at HR@Sparckids.org. 320 Pacific Place, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 Ph: (360) 416-7570 – Fax: (360) 416-7580 A UNITED WAY SUPPORTED AGENCY