Families and supporters of Lynden Christian School gather, watch and pray along Drayton Street as classes began in-person on Tuesday, Sept. 1.  (Brent Lindquist/Lynden Tribune)

Public schools now follow, but all in remote mode  

  WHATCOM ­— The sidewalks near Lynden Christian School had 6-foot markings for spacing of people, but it wasn’t needed for Tuesday’s very subdued opening of the school for classes of the 2020-21 year.

  Supporting family and constituents could gather, and pray, around the school on its opening day. Dozens took advantage, although there was plenty of room for more. Nor did any protests show up against the largest school in the area to be in-person in this COVID-dominated year.

  “I just think the kids need to be in school, emotionally, socially, mentally, spiritually,” said Debbie Sterk, a parent of three at LC, who stood across from the high school. “It’s for structure.”

  Sterk said she prayed “that it all goes well, that we can show the county, or whoever is watching, that it can be done safely.”

  Some Lynden Christian Elementary students were gathered outside with their teachers — all in masks — before making their way inside around 9 a.m.

  At smaller Cornerstone Christian School of Lynden, also opening in-person on Tuesday, doors of classrooms were open to the pleasant weather.

  Elsewhere, all Whatcom County public school districts’ K-12 instruction starts out remote due to COVID-19.

  Cornerstone Christian and Lynden Christian, and on Wednesday Ebenezer Christian School are the exceptions to be in-person on their campuses. Plans in place follow state guidelines for proper distancing, face covering and sanitization throughout their buildings.

  Meridian and Ferndale schools get their new years started Wednesday, Sept. 2, online following Whatcom County Health Department and state recommendations.

  The Lynden, Mount Baker and Nooksack Valley school districts start Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. All three are also starting the school year remote.

  All schedules right now are tentative, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic makes planning a challenge. Administrators in school districts starting remotely will continue to look at infection rates in the county after school starts and assess when it is safe to bring students back to campus.

  Ferndale has projected that its remote learning will be at least through the first nine-week grading period of school.  

  The Blaine School District was the earliest to start locally, launching on Wednesday, Aug. 26, also remote.