Dieringer Fall School Reopening

Dieringer Fall Reopening

Do you have questions about COVID-19 and Dieringer School District’s plans?  Email the school district at covid_info@dieringer.wednet.edu.
The November 2nd start to hybrid in-person learning has been delayed.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s guidance to schools has stated that we are clearly back into a high transmission phase of the virus with cases over 75 per 100,000 people.  This increase in COVID-19 case counts in the county puts the Dieringer School District in an unpredictable situation for determining the exact dates of when to safely begin hybrid learning.  After careful consideration, based on the health department's guidance, the state department of health’s decision tree for K-12 schools, and consultation with the District’s board of directors, parent leaders, community members, and leadership, we are going to delay the transition to hybrid in-person learning. At this time, we’re looking to start hybrid learning for elementary students as soon as it is safe and case rates in our county drop.  Middle school students will hopefully start three weeks after elementary students return, provided case rates stay low. 
The Dieringer School District is committed to maintaining learning environments that protect the health and safety of our students, educators, and staff. The district needs to be ready to adjust our plans based on the changing health conditions and risk factors within our community. Like many states around the country, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington.  For students, families and staff at higher risk for severe illness from the COVID-19 virus, this uncertainty is especially concerning.

All of us look forward to eventually returning to “pre-covid” school operations after the virus has been defeated. In June our state issued guidance for schools to follow in planning to reopen school campuses this fall. Updates to this state guidance continued over the summer and the governor has just released a decision tree to help school determine when distance learning is best and when it should be safe to resume in person learning.   

This plan meets the required reopening plan expectation from the state and details many areas where the staff and students of the Dieringer School District will keep people safe and provide the best learning possible in whatever learning model we find ourselves using.  This document was developed using state and local guidance from The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the Washington State and Tacoma-Pierce County Departments of Health, along with input from our parents and staff.  

We know the situation we find ourselves in locally, nationally, and around the world is not where we want to be right now.  If we work together for the common good we will beat this outbreak and be back in school, dining out, hosting friends and family, and packing local stadia rooting on our favorite team.  In the meantime, we are dedicated to making the best of a bad situation for our children.
Frequently Asked Questions from the Board of Directors September 28, 2020


Board Meeting regarding our Phase 3 Reopening Hybrid Plan:


Q. If students and teachers are wearing masks, can they be closer than 6 feet?

A. Even with a mask, everyone should stay 6 ft apart as much as possible.



Q. Where do I access the State Department of Health Decision Making Tree referenced in the meeting?

A. This is a document provided by the state that guides us on our decision making.
Please click the link for more information: https://www.doh.wa.gov



Q. Why is the school district choosing to reopen when we are approaching the flu
season which will most likely cause COVID numbers to spike?

A. We’re following the guidance from the state. The data shows the best thing for our
younger learners is to be in person for learning. Also, the feedback from our surveys
has shown the far majority of the community wants their children back in school.



Q. Why not try a full day schedule twice a week (A/B Hybrid) instead of the AM/PM Hybrid?

A. The AM/PM Hybrid provides more consistent contact with students and teachers,
easier to keep cohorts separate, will minimize movement during the day, and students
will be provided meals to take home in lieu of a lunch break minimizing the biggest risk
of transmission. Ultimately, this is what was decided to be best for the kids.



Q. Many families have students in more than one school, can you make sure the
siblings have the same am/pm schedule?

A. Yes, students will be grouped by family and attend school at the same time across
all 3 schools.



Q. May I request my students not go at the same time?

A. That may be an option, we would need to have a further conversation.



Q. May I request an AM vs PM schedule for my children?

A. Currently we don't have enough data to be able to answer that question yet. It's
dependent on the results of the survey and what those numbers tell us.



Q. Will we go back to remote learning if the Pierce County COVID rate goes higher than 75 per 100,000?

A. If there is a spike in the numbers we will most likely go back to a fully remote model.



Q. How can you be sure proper sanitation is done between the AM/PM groups and on the busses?

A. In preparing the potential schedule, every afternoon there is a 1½ - 2 hour block of
time set aside for cleaning. We have also timed how long it takes to clean and sanitize a
bus, so the schedule will allow for this crucial step in the process as well.



Q. Is the survey just a survey or a commitment to the choice made?

A. We ask the elementary school families to commit to the end of the 2nd trimester
(March 23rd) and middle school families commit to the end of the first semester
(February 1st). We need to be able to adjust quickly if we are required to go back to fully
remote learning.



Q. If 1/3 of North Tapps students chose to stay with full time remote learning, will the school have enough teachers to accommodate both in class students and remote learners?

A. Yes, we have enough teachers to teach the students we have. It would be a matter of
adjusting to fulfill the need.



Q. When kids are in school, will teachers be moving to different classes?

A. We haven't made an official decision about this yet.



Q. How will school supplies work in a hybrid model? Supplies travel with the students?

A. Students will carry their devices with them to and from school. We don’t have
specifics regarding school supplies, other than students will not be sharing supplies.



Q. Are students able to checkout library books? Is it safe?

A. Yes, students are able to check out library books through each of our schools.
DHES and LTES books can get checked out via a Google form on the school’s website,
NT books can get checked out on the school’s website via Destiny. Is it safe to check
out books? The Department of Health states “Children books and other paper based
materials are not high risks for spreading the virus.” Handwashing and safety protocols
are required and will be followed when sharing paper materials.



Q. How will the district implement Title/LAP into a ½ day schedule?

A. We will provide those services while the students are in the buildings. Some students
that need additional services may stay in the building longer. It will be reviewed
individually based on fulfilling the needs of the student.



Q. How will the schedule work at North Tapps? What about electives?

A. We don't have all the data yet, but we know the online schedule will be different and
electives will be limited.



Q. Will drinking fountains be available for students?

A. Drinking fountains will not be available. Paper cups will be provided in classrooms
with drinking fountains for those students who don’t have a water bottle.
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