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Vista Middle School sign (April 3, 2020). Photo: My Ferndale News

Whatcom Dept. of Health advises school districts against starting in-person learning at this time

FERNDALE, Wash. — Ferndale School District Superintendent Linda Quinn told the directors on the Ferndale School Board during a special meeting tonight that Dr. Greg Stern, Whatcom County Health Officer, had advised all Whatcom County school districts today, August 4th, not to return to in-person learning given the current state of COVID-19 illness in the county.

Quinn said she and other representatives from the other Whatcom County school districts met with Stern and other members of the Whatcom County Department of Health(WCDH) today and were presented with the latest statistics on case positive test results (see WCDH press release below).

Quinn said this advisory aligns with announcements from several other western Washington school districts.

Prior to the school board meeting, Quinn presented the information to the Ferndale School Reopening Task Force. She said that while they did not issue a formal recommendation, the consensus of the group was not to go against the WCDH recommendation.

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Board President Andrew McLaurin said, “This is a sobering, yet not unexpected finding.” Director Lee Anne Riddle said, “This is how we should proceed. It’s the only choice.” Director Melinda Cool said, “There are numerous drawbacks to distance learning but I’m not willing to put health, safety and lives at risk.”

Quinn said a letter will be going out to staff and administrators tonight and a letter will go out to families tomorrow morning.

Online “coffee hour” meetings are planned with families including with non-English speaking groups in the near future to address any questions.

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