Washington School Campus Closure Updates

4.3.2020

Dear Washington Community, 

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy. Yesterday, you should have received the letter from Superintendent Dr. Keller regarding RBUSD’s school campus closures. If you did not, please take a minute to read it by clicking here.

I have had the chance to speak to many families over the past two days, and even though we knew this was a possibility, it still hits hard. Yesterday and today have been very emotional days for many in our community, including our students, parents, teachers, and support staff. It has also been an emotional few days for me. I spent yesterday morning assisting our Nutrition Services department with meal distribution at Adams Middle School. This is the first time I had to wear a mask and gloves, and it was also right after learning the news. As the first few families came through to pick up meals, I did have a moment where water swelled up in my eyes. I had to take a breath and then carry on with handing out food. I was able to see many Washington families that morning and it was a surreal experience because it is not a scenario I could ever imagine. Then yesterday afternoon, and this morning, I joined our second-grade team and some of our instructional aides to distribute Chromebooks to second-grade families. Being with my team like this was the highlight of my week, and even though what we were actually doing isn’t routine or normal at all, it was a relief to be around my colleagues in this capacity. The many interactions we had with families were filled with sincere empathy, gratitude, and some tears. Seeing some of our students and being able to talk to families was uplifting, but it also left us really missing all of you even more. 

I understand that there is a genuine sense of grief and loss at this time. We do not get to end our school year on campus, and this is definitely not what any of us wanted. It is heartbreaking for our community to not have the opportunity to finish the school year on campus participating in all of the activities that we look forward to at the end of the school year. I have always loved in education that the school year is a cycle, and it becomes a very familiar comfort when you get to start and end the year with a group of students, getting to know them as individuals, and witnessing them grow in so many ways. The Washington team is feeling this heartbreak and loss right along with all of our families. 

This global pandemic has required us to be more resilient as a community than ever before, and we will continue to work together to get through this. I understand that the announcement of keeping campuses closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year brings up many questions. Please know that our Washington team is committed to continuing to serve our students’ academic and social/emotional needs throughout this time. Each day our teachers are finding new and innovative ways to connect with students as they continue strengthening their skills as a distance learning teacher. 

I think it is important to note, our schools are not closed, just the buildings are. We are still working in the same capacity (if not more so) that we always have as educators, and we are still focused on instruction. The thing that makes Washington the school it is, was never the physical campus. I can assure you our team will work our hardest to maintain the connection with our community and will provide support for our families during this time. We will come up with creative solutions so that our students can still experience some of the year-end activities, celebrate achievements, and have opportunities to stay connected to Washington. 

I want to thank all of you for your continued patience and support during this time, and most of all, I want to thank you for your trust. Because you have been so patient and kind, it has given us the time and space to develop this learning platform. This is all new for us, and we are bound to make some mistakes. We do hope that you continue to trust that we will always try to do what is best for our students. 

I want to thank my team for their continued dedication and hard work during this turbulent time. Our teachers and support staff have been incredible, and they continue to amaze me every day with their creativity, and their willingness to learn new strategies and tools. 

As Dr. Keller shared, Spring Break is a vital time for everyone. It is important that we all take this time to relax, spend time with our families, and to just take a breath. I have asked that my team step away from emails, and work-related tasks during this time. After Spring Break, we will continue to communicate regularly with families around remote learning, video conferences with students, and will share plans for teaching essential grade-specific standards. 

I am so grateful to be Washington’s principal, and a part of this community.

Please stay safe, healthy, and know that we are here for you.

In good health, 

Andrea Bittick

Principal

Washington Elementary

 

CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO UPDATE ON REMOTE LEARNING AT WASHINGTON!