September 1, 2021

Dear HBSD Families,

The Haines Borough School District recently adopted a strategic plan that is being implemented this year.  These are the long-term goals that our district has to make it an even better place for our students.  A summary includes things like:

·Maximizing the academic performance for all of our learners while also encouraging their well-being;

·Keeping our high quality team of educators in Haines and at our school;

·Increasing opportunities for parent and community involvement;

·Effectively communicating with our parents and community members;

·Graduating all of our students on time and with a plan for their future after high school; and

·Ensuring that all of our graduates possess “Alaska Ready” skills like: cold water safety, avalanche awareness, hunter’s safety, and CPR.

I know that much of the communication home during the last month has been operational in nature, specifically in regard to COVID-19.  Rest assured that while health and safety is and has always been our #1 priority, the vast majority of our time and efforts are the continuous improvement of our school through the goals identified in our strategic plan.  I look forward to updating you on our progress as we work together for the children of Haines.

Yours in Education,

Roy Getchell

Superintendent

August 27, 2021

August 27, 2021

Dear HBSD Families,

We want to thank you for all of your help, support, and kindness this week as we opened the school year.  We have had a very successful start with your help and are looking forward to another great year!

This has been a busy time and there are many confusing nuances about things like close contacts, testing, and quarantines.  We will follow the State of Alaska’s guidelines in regard to how/when quarantining is necessary.  In summary:

*If your student is fully vaccinated, they may stay in schoolif they do not develop symptoms. They should mask indoors and monitor for symptoms.  The CDC recommends a test 3-5 days after exposure.

*If your student is*** NOT fully vaccinated or under age 12 and not yet eligible for vaccine, andmasks have** NOT *been used consistentlyat school, they must quarantine. There are two options for quarantine:

1.With no test, return to school after 10 days of quarantine if no symptoms develop.

2.With a negative test administered 5 days or later after exposure, return to school on day 8 if symptom free.

*If your student is*** NOT** fully vaccinated or under age 12 and not yet eligible for vaccine*, butmasks have been used consistentlyat school,

1.Your student must quarantine if they spent more than 15 minutes cumulatively within a 24-hour period within 3 feet of a COVID positive person.

2.They do*** NOT ***have to quarantine and may stay in school if they were more than 3 feet from the positive person.   The CDC recommends a test 3-5 days after exposure.

Our current mitigations significantly decrease the likelihood of quarantines due to exposures at school.  We will communicate with you ASAP if they occur.

I hope you have a great weekend ahead.  Thank you for being our partner in education.

Yours in Education,

Roy Getchell

Superintendent

August 23, 2021

Dear HBSD Families,

Today you will find several resources as we prepare for the new school year that begins tomorrow for grades 1-12 and next week for kindergarten.   A summary document called “Return to School Operational Guidelines” has been uploaded to our website under the label “COVID­19 News and Updates.” It will answer at a glance many questions that you might have.

While we won’t be requiring the completion of a written health screener, we do ask that you kindly assess your students’ health daily to ensure that they do not come to school with any symptoms thatcouldbe COVID related.  Those include a fever of 100.3 or higher, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, body aches, and loss of taste or smell.  Please call SEARHC at 766-6300 if your child has any of those symptoms to schedule a rapid test at no cost to you.

We appreciate all of your involvement and feedback as we have done our very best to meet the needs of our students.  Working together we are striving to keep our school open and safe as we walk a path that leads to normalcy.

Yours in Education,

Roy Getchell,

Superintendent

August 19, 2021

August 19, 2021

Dear HBSD Families,

The Haines Borough School District School Board approved our Return to School Plan on August 12th.  Last night at a special board meeting, our return to school date was confirmed as scheduled – August 24th.

As a reminder, highlights of our plan include things such as

  1. Utilizing a system of decision making that allows us to better respond to current conditions vs. having a year-long unchangeable plan (evaluated monthly)
  2. Beginning the year with many layered mitigations that are similar to last year, such as: staying home when ill, wearing masks indoors, maintaining social distancing, and continuing with high quality air filtration and building sanitization
  3. Adding no cost testing capacity with immediate results to return students and staff back to school in a timely manner (this is 100% grant funded)

More information with return to school information and procedures will be coming soon.

I continue to monitor conditions but do not expect our plans to change.   I also would like to thank the community for the voluntary measures taken to control the spread of COVID-19 in Haines.  The grace, understanding, and support received as we begin another school year means so much!

Yours in Education,

Roy Getchell

Superintendent

August 10, 2021

August 10, 2021

Dear HBSD Families,

We are working on mitigations to make our school environment as safe as possible, all while leaning forward as we walk a measured path to normalcy for the 2021-22 school year.  Our current environment highlights what we already knew – any plan we make must be versatile in responding to our local conditions.  In spite of the challenges we face, rest assured that not only have we done this before, but that the team of educators who are responsible for your children performed at the highest possible level this past year.  That experience has prepared us for the challenges ahead.

On Thursday evening at 7:00, our school board will be taking action on a return to school plan that I will email to you and post on our website.  I have spoken with many of you in person, over the phone, as well as through surveys and focus groups.  Your feedback has been important throughout and you are welcome to provide comment about the plan under consideration.

Some highlights include

  1. Creating a versatile system of decision making that allows us to better respond to local conditions vs. having a year-long unchangeable plan
  2. Beginning the year with many layered mitigations that are similar to last year, such as: staying home when ill, wearing masks indoors, maintaining social distancing, and continuing with high quality air filtration and building sanitization
  3. “Normalizing” things such as:  returning our library to its normal use, returning to regular entrances/exits, utilizing the playground before school, eating lunch in the cafeteria (our normal menu returns), increasing public access to our facility, and dismissing school at 3:00
  4. Adding no cost testing capacity with immediate results to return students and staff back to school in a timely manner (this is 100% grant funded)
  5. Adding a mental health support position for our students and families (this is 100% grant funded)

In addition to these adjustments, we ar

  1. Providing each family/staff member in our correspondence and brick and mortar programs with $40 toward their internet bill during the first semester
  2. Increasing our correspondence allotment by $100 annually to stay ahead of our statewide competitors
  3. Operating under a Federal National School Lunch Program option that offers free lunch and breakfast during the school year.

The safety of our students remains our number one priority as we work to maintain our in-person learning, continuation of student activities, and the well-being of our community.

Yours in Education,

Roy Getchell

Superintendent

July 2, 2021

Hello All!

I hope you are doing well and are enjoying the day today.  Summer in Alaska is amazing.

Our school board recently took a first look at preliminary plans for our return to school in August.  We are about halfway along in the process of making these important decisions for our students, staff, and community.   Our goal is to have decision-making that is deliberate, informed, and inclusive.

As the next step in this important process, we are seeking feedback from our staff, parents, students, and community about our important components of our proposed plan.  These were created with consideration from our current SmartStart plan, focus group feedback that I gathered in May/June from multiple groups, as well as multiple sources of updated guidance.  The survey link is here:

21-22 HBSD Smart Recovery Survey

Information gathered will be used as an important data-driven consideration for the official plan which will be approved at our school board meeting on August 3rd.  School related updates and items can be found on our website under the 2021 Smart Recovery Survey button at the front of our webpage.  

The link is here: https://www.hbsd.net

While summer is going fast - too fast - a month is a LONG time in our COVID world for things to change and new things to be learned.  That, when coupled with a desire for creating a plan that Haines will see as meeting the overall needs of the many facets of our school community, make this deliberate approach so important.

I appreciate all of your grace and understanding through this time. While there are many unanswered questions about the future, I know that it is the team culture that we share, backed by a focus on our students, that will allow us to lean forward as we exit this pandemic together.  I value our partnership and am privileged to work with you on behalf of the children of Haines.

Yours In Education,

Roy Getchell