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Ferndale School District adopts 6-stage process for returning to 100% in-class lessons

FERNDALE, Wash. — After being forced to quickly reinvent class curriculums with only a few week’s notice due to school building closures in March of the 2019-2020 school year, the Ferndale School District (FSD) has had to do the same but in more detail as they prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Wednesday, September 2nd, is scheduled as the first day of classes for the 2020-2021 school year in the Ferndale School District.

The Ferndale School Board announced on August 5th the 2020-21 school year would begin with 100% remote learning. This decision followed district officials receiving that recommendation from the Whatcom County Health Department.

Ferndale School District has adopted the following 6-stage process similar to 1 published by the Northshore School District, for how they will move from 100% remote learning to 100% in-person learning. This is similar to the 4-phase Washington state “Safe Start” reopening plan.

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Stage 1 – All students and staff participate in 100% remote learning. School buildings are closed for access to everyone but essential workers.

Stage 2 – Only staff will be in school buildings and only for the purpose of planning and delivering online instruction. Exceptions will be for students living in areas with no internet service. They will be able to be in buildings but only in areas designated “safe remote learning areas.”

Stage 3 – Students identified to be in greatest need of additional support will be able to receive in-person instruction for a limited amount of time each week.

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Stage 4 – Those students whose families elect to participate in a hybrid model (a combination of remote learning and in-person instruction) will be able to participate onsite with in-person instruction 2 days a week while continuing with remote learning 3 days a week.

Stage 5 – The amount of in-person instruction time will be increased for those students with the greatest need but the hybrid model will remain in place.

Stage 6 – This stage will mark a return to 100% in-person classes with remote learning being the exception.

How it will be decided when the district moves between the stages has not been announced and district officials acknowledged on their website, “The stages do not have hard and fast metrics attached to them. We are working closely with the Whatcom Health Department to determine when we can safely move from one stage to the next.”

District officials say they plan to open the 2020-2021 school year at Stage 2. Families can monitor a stage status page updated by FSD to determine the current stage.

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