Kent School District

Watts Happening: News from Dr. Watts May 2021

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WATTSHAPPENING SUPERINTENDENT'S UPDATE WITH DR. CALVIN J. WATTS MAY 2021 Dear KSD Community, Last month, during April, our students had the opportunity, based upon family choice, to either return to in-person learning and remote or to return to remote learning only. During April alone, our families reported a total of 88 student cases of covid-19 across all grades and within 30 of our 42 schools. This includes students in both hybrid and remote learning and athletic activities. We had our first classroom closure within two weeks of reopening our buildings for in-person learning due to COVID-19. Since the beginning of the school year, we have had 81 staff cases of COVID-19 reported. Knowing and reviewing this data is crucial for several reasons. First, I provide this information to remind us that even with the adherence to safety measures where we live, work, learn and play, the COVID-19 virus is still very active in our community. Second, I want to recognize the efforts of our building leaders and staff, who continue working diligently to keep our schools safe. Third, I want to specifically thank our school nurses and health technicians, who engage in the many hours of contact tracing and communication behind each positive case. Our hybrid learning model continues to present daily opportunities for collaboration, communication, leadership, and partnership. Our staff continues to rise to the occasion. I cannot stress enough that we must all do our part to remain vigilant while the COVID-19 virus continues to be a factor in our lives. Overall, our students and staff have done an outstanding job with our health and safety protocols since our school buildings reopened for limited in-person learning, athletics, and activities. While I recognize these measures are new for students and can be challenging, we are all working together to adapt to them. I want to thank our students, families, and staff for reinforcing the importance of following our safety mitigation protocols each day in school, on the field, and on the bus. As a reminder, the key protocols we have implemented in all of our buildings include: All students and staff members are required to wear masks or face coverings unless they have a documented medical reason not to. Our teachers provide time for socially distanced “mask breaks" as schedules allow. KSD staff work with students and families to offer consistent reminders to students who may struggle with keeping their masks on during in-person learning. We have spaced out desks in classrooms to keep students separated whenever possible. Students should also avoid close contact with others whenever possible. To avoid large groups of students gathering in one place, we have adjusted the way students move between classrooms and other spaces in our schools. Students and staff are frequently reminded about the importance of proper handwashing. We have also placed hand sanitizer units throughout our buildings. All students and staff should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and complete the wellness form daily when entering the building. If a student or staff member feels sick, they should stay home from school, consult a healthcare professional right away, and notify the school office. 1-31 Asian American Pacific MAY Islander Heritage Month 1-31 Jewish American MAY Heritage Month Better Hearing & 1-31 MAY Speech Month 12 National School MAY Nurse Day 12 KSD Board Meeting MAY 22 KSD Virtual MAY Career Fair 26 KSD Board Meeting Continued on next page MAY 31 Memorial Day, MAY No School KENT SCHOOL DISTRICT EQUITY | EXCELLENCE | COM MUNITY UPCOMING EVENTS

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(Continued) We ask that all students carefully follow these procedures during the school day and when riding the bus to and from school. More information about our health and safety protocols is on our website. We will continue to communicate with our families through our schools and district reminders. As we plan for next school year, we will continue to rely on the Washington State Department of Health and our State Superintendent for safety guidelines that will allow us to welcome staff and students back to school this fall. Our scheduled first day of school for grades 1-12 next year is August 26, 2021. We do anticipate that new guidance will be shared with all districts in the coming weeks. This will inform what the school day will look like for us next year. I realize that so many of us are looking forward to safely returning to an on-campus, face-to-face learning experience in fall 2021. We will continue to provide as much information as possible to our current and future students, families, and staff regarding the 2021-22 school year as it becomes available. Once again, on behalf of Team KSD, I say “thank you" to our students, staff, and families, as well as our entire school community. More specifically, I thank you for your continued efforts to help us keep everyone safe and keep our schools open. In partnership and service, Dr. Calvin J. Watts Kent School District Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2021: Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service. * Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a commemoration of the culture, traditions, and history of Asian American and Pacific Islander people in the United States. In 1978, Congress passed a joint Congressional Resolution to pay tribute to Asian Pacific American Heritage Week during the first week of May. In 1992, the month of May was permanently designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. During Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, communities commemorate the achievements and contributions of Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) with community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational activities for students. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. According to Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC), the 2021 theme for AAPI Heritage Month is "Advancing Leaders Through Purpose-Driven Service." Virtual Career Fair May 22 Kent School Board Director Positions Open as Terms Come to an End Kent School District (KSD) is one of the largest, most culturally diverse school districts in Washington State. We seek to hire effective staff members who represent our diverse community and respond to our changing needs. During the April 28 regular board meeting, Director Joseph Bento affirmed he will seek election for his position as Kent School Board director, which he was appointed to in January 2021 by the school board midterm. Because this was a mid-term appointment, Director Bento must now be elected. The term for this director position also expires in November 2021. We offer excellent career opportunities for those dedicated to successfully preparing all students for their futures. Whether a classroom teacher, principal or office professional, bus driver or custodian, each employee contributes to student achievement. Both Kent School Board President Denise Daniels and Director Maya Vengadasalam announced at previous school board meetings this year they will not be seeking reelection when their terms end this fall, in November 2021. Please join us on Saturday, May 22, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for a virtual career fair to ask questions, meet current Team KSD members, and more! Additional details and Microsoft Teams Meeting link to come at www.kent.k12. Candidates interested in the open board positions must meet several requirements by state law and must file with King County elections May 17-21, 2021, for the November 2, 2021, general election. This is not a paid position. Learn more about what our board does and the requirements for filing on our website. * “Resources for Educators, Parents & Families." Anti- Defamation League, resources-for-educators-parents-families.

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