CAMAS, Wash. (KOIN) — Camas School District Interim Superintendent Doug Hood said that clear and concise communication from the State of Washington takes some of the pressure off teachers ahead of a school year where so much is already going to be different.
Teachers and students are going back to the classroom on August 31 for a full 5-day in-person week this school year. Undoubtedly, teachers will experience some challenges.
Hood said their safety and mitigation practices were in place last year, due largely to the State of Washington guidelines which were clear from the outset.
A large part of ensuring teachers’ mental health is checking in with them regularly and taking time to notice when they might be struggling, he told KOIN 6 News. The best thing anyone can do is communicate clearly how they’re feeling and hear what’s expected for this school year.
“We do talk about social, emotional learning and wellbeing of our students, but we also say for our staff as well, because they endured the pandemic and still do,” Hood said.
Just like students, he said, educators need relationships. They need to be supported, regardless of their role.
Last year Camas allowed in-person instruction 4 days a week, so the switch to 5 days shouldn’t be too harsh. But it will be different.
Online school option
The online school option is the Camas Connect Academy. Last year it began with 3rd-graders, but this year is K-12. That will make it more accessible for families with younger kids who want to keep them home.
Hood said the program is fluid so families don’t have to commit right away and can still coordinate with their school to decide.
Even if students do choose to do online school in Camas, they will still have opportunities to join clubs and sports the same way they would if they attended school in the building.
“We’re still working with families and reaching out because they are still trying to figure out what they want to do and so we still have families that are still trying to decide,” Hood said.
Families need to make a decision before school starts. Hood said that, out of 7000 total students, only 150 have committed to online learning so far.