Dear Chimacum Families,
It has been quite a blustery 2022! Between snow, sleet, high winds, flooding, landslides, downed trees, power-outages, and record high tides, we are off to an exciting start. A deep bow of gratitude to the transportation and maintenance teams who have safely gotten our students to school and kept our schools safe and clean and ready to go!
As you are probably aware, the Omicron variant is causing many challenges for schools (see Kitsap Sun Article). Educators have a tough and rewarding job that they love and are prepared for. Public health is not something any of us is trained for, but we have been pressed into service for almost two years with rapid testing, contact tracing, and ensuring the safety of our students and staff for in-person learning and activities like sports. This is on top of supporting the emotional well-being of our students who are deeply affected by these difficult times.
We are anticipating a surge of Covid cases. Although the Omicron variant is less impactful on health especially for the vaccinated and boosted, it is much more contagious. Our in-place mitigation measures will prevent a major outbreak. Proper masking is still required and needs to be adhered to at all times in buildings. We are rapid testing to keep students and staff in school safely, and to keep athletics going.
We remain deeply committed to being the heart center of this community and supporting our students’ growth and well-being. We are planning and forecasting possible disruptions as best we can, based on the information we have. However, I share the concerns of my fellow educators around the state that we may experience staffing shortages that could change how we do school. Like some of our neighbors, we may get down to the essential functions of feeding and safely supervising students. While we intend to provide outstanding learning experiences for our students each day, the best we can do on any given day may be that which is most essential and supportive to our families.
We will do our level best to get you up-to-date information about disruptions to school, transportation, athletics, or other school-related activities. Some changes could happen overnight, or in less time. While we can do some coverage with the staff and substitutes we have, our people in every department are overstretched- teachers are covering colleagues’ classes during their planning time, support staff are driving buses when we are short on drivers, and administrators are doing everything from teaching to garbage pick up to rapid testing to name a few things we do each day.
Please give our people grace. They truly are working hard and doing their best under extreme circumstances. And let us know what we can do to support you in meeting your families’ needs during difficult times. Our support staff, counselors, teachers, and administrators are here for you, too.
Lastly, if you’re interested, take a look at some of our job openings (https://www.csd49.org/Content2/employment-application) and let us know if you are interested in joining this wonderful team as a substitute or full time employee. We want people who are committed to making this a great community to live and work!
It will take a community effort to move through this so that the impacts on our kids can be addressed and overcome.
Scott Mauk, Ed.D., Superintendent