October 15 2020 - Message From Supt. Kultgen

Families -

At last evening’s school board meeting, the board decided to postpone the tentative October 26 in-person start date for our preschool through 2nd grade classrooms. This decision, which was not made in haste or lightly, was made after receiving earlier guidance from the Snohomish Health District requesting that districts pause their re-opening efforts.

As we move forward, the district will continue its close collaboration with the Snohomish Health District. The health district, in making its recommendation to school districts such as ours, looks at COVID-19 activity levels, increasing/decreasing trends in cases or hospitalizations, test positivity rates and other health and education risks/benefits to children and their families. Should the Snohomish Health District indicate it is safe to move forward with our re-opening efforts, we will keep you informed of those decisions. Our timelines will give students and families time to adjust.

Our plan will be to reopen under the following guidelines:

  1. When Snohomish County is in the Moderate COVID-19 activity level of 25-75 cases/100,000 in the 14-day average.
  2. When there is a downward trend in transmission rates over a two week period. For example, the transmission rate is 72/100,000 and one week later the rate drops to a lower number then the following week it drops again.
  3. At that point, a date will be set to begin in-person school for our youngest learners. This date would be as soon as possible while taking into account time needed for student transition and family adjustments for a shift in schedules.

Despite the pause, our work regarding the eventual return to in-person instruction has not stopped. We are continuing to work on the health and safety measures that must be implemented. When students and staff return to school for in-person instruction, the health and safety of our learning community is our utmost priority. Below are some of the many areas of our focus. The Safe Re-Opening District Handbook, which is continually being updated, contains information on many of these topics and can be found at www.sno.wednet.edu/reopening/handbook. Other resources and information are available at www.sno.wednet.edu/reopening. I encourage you to review and reach out to us at reopening@sno.wednet.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Cleaning: Cleaning and sanitizing efforts will focus on high-use touch point areas such as door handles, faucets, and railings.
  • COVID-19 reporting and closure protocols: Our COVID-19 reporting and closure protocols are coordinated with the Snohomish Health District.
  • Student drop-off and pick-up: We will provide drop-off, pick-up and entry/exit points that create adequate physical distancing for students as they enter/leave buildings and schools.
  • Masks: Students, staff, and all individuals in our schools and facilities will wear masks.
  • Physical distancing: Classrooms and common spaces, including cafeterias, are being reconfigured to provide six feet of physical distance between all persons.
  • Handwashing: We will require and provide opportunities for students and staff to wash or sanitize hands multiple times throughout the day.
  • Cohorts: We will create cohorts or smaller groups of students with dedicated staff who will remain together throughout the day, including at recess and lunch.
  • COVID-19 screening: We will conduct daily health screenings of students and staff, which will include daily attestation to being free of any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Meals: Our spaces and breakfast/lunch schedules must be reconfigured to provide eating spaces that provide six feet of physical distance.
  • Busing: Health mitigation strategies such as masks, hand hygiene, frequent cleaning, and maximum air circulation are necessary when riders cannot follow the physical distancing guidelines on buses.
  • Visitors and volunteers: Visitors during the school day will be strictly limited to only emergency needs or contracted agency staff who work directly with students for educational purposes. Volunteers will not be allowed.

COVID-19 continues to evolve in our region and across the globe. As always, please remember to limit social gatherings, wear face coverings when around those outside of your household and wash your hands. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate our way forward together.

Kent