FERNDALE, Wash. — Saying the mental health of the students is severely declining since adjusting to online learning, about 16 Ferndale High School students marched this afternoon, November 13th, from Ferndale High School to Pioneer Bridge on Main Street to let the community know of their frustrations.
An organizer and FHS Associated School Body Vice President Abby Bryan, told My Ferndale News in an email, “I have talked with FHS administration multiple times, and have not gotten the answers I am looking for (although I understand that things are complicated and patience with the school is needed). However, our questions and concerns have not been paid much attention to at all.”
Bryan cited declining mental health, “a lack of motivation to even get up and do school in the morning,” “plummeting grades,” and how “many students have been finding ways to cheat easily since everything is online and unmonitored” as significant reasons to return to in-person classes.
In August, the Ferndale School District officials announced they were following a 6-stage process for returning to 100% in-person classes. At that time, they said the 2020-2021 school year would begin in “stage 2” with 100% remote-learning.
Ferndale School District Superintendent Linda Quinn told the Ferndale School Board at their September 29th regular meeting that guidance from the Whatcom County Health Department was indicating a potential for resuming some classes for some students in some school buildings.
On October 8th, District officials announced they were moving to “stage 3” and in-person instruction would begin for students identified to be in greatest need of additional support. It also included offering hybrid (a mix of remote and in-person instruction) learning to kindergarteners and elementary school students by early November.
In what appears to be the latest communication to families and students, a letter dated October 29th, Quinn said second quarter, which began the week of November 9th, most middle and high school students would continue remote learning through at least through the last week in January which is the end of the quarter.
Bryan said their protest was a result of “asking school admin why we cannot return hybrid like Lynden High School is next week and having our questions ignored.”
Lynden High School is starting next week with a hybrid model using a shorter in-person school day, half capacity classrooms, alternating days, mandatory mask wearing and social distancing according to the high school website. Bryan pointed out they are accomplishing this without cohorting and while working with health officials to ensure a safe return.