WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — While it is currently the middle of the cold and flu season, health officials are blaming the reportedly very contagious COVID-19 omicron variant for a widespread increase in employee absenteeism. Such is the case for some Whatcom County school districts.
Blaine School District announced last night, January 4th, that due to absenteeism and road conditions due to a recent and expected snow events, all Blaine School District students will be in remote learning from January 5th through January 7th.
Meridian School District officials also made the move to remote learning for the remainder of this week.
With keeping the safety of our students, staff and families in mind we are choosing to move to distance learning for the rest of the week. Meridian School District has been faced with the same challenges as other school districts locally and nationally with staffing shortages and the increase of COVID-19 transmission in our community has made operating our schools even more difficult. We’ve also seen an impact on student attendance this week. With the added complexity of limited testing available in our community, staff and students are having to remain home. Finally, the forecast is calling for additional snow which could cause unsafe road conditions.
The Lummi Nation School had been closed Monday and Tuesday of this week citing COVID-19 concerns. Yesterday, they announced they will be closed for the remainder of the week due to staff shortages and will resume classes remotely beginning Monday, January 10th.
Ferndale School District said yesterday that while they are currently maintaining in-person classes, they have “asked staff to begin preparing for the possibility of remote learning if their classrooms or buildings need to make that transition.” Adding, “The transition to remote learning will be made at the direction of public health or based on student and staff illnesses.”
This morning Ferndale announced they are maintaining in-person classes but will be on a 2-hour delay with no out-of-district transportation and all athletics and after-school activities are cancelled today.
But not all Whatcom school districts have announced plans for remote classes.
Mount Baker School District announced they will be operating on their regular in-person class schedules today with buses on snow routes.
Bellingham School District is also maintaining in-person classes but will be on a 2-hour delay today with buses on snow routes. Preschool is canceled.
Nooksack Valley School District has not made a public announcement for today.
Mount Baker School District are maintaining in-person classes but will be on a 2-hour delay today with buses on snow routes. Early dismissal today has been canceled.
Lynden School District and Lynden Christian Schools canceled classes today due to icy conditions.
Parents, students and staff should monitor their district’s website and email for updates as conditions continue to change.