COVID-19 Strategies from the Field

Official operational guidance is provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction on their COVID-19 resource page. The notes below are largely gathered during WSSDA COVID-19 networking calls. These notes* are shared to help school boards across the state as they seek solutions to challenges posed by COVID-19. The strategies below may not be possible for all districts, and may be superseded by state or federal authority over time.

Strategies from the Field

Recorded 4/6/20
  • Considerations for conducting virtual board meetings:
    • Board may put a flag up on the screen to start. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Board may conduct a flag salute and acknowledge tribal lands. (Cindy Kelly, Port Angeles)
    • Board may call for individual verbal votes (roll call) or use red/green cards. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Review settings in Zoom to prevent external, inappropriate interruptions, a.k.a. “Zoom Booming." (See article on updating Zoom settings.) (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Board members should log out of remote board meeting to enter a remote executive session. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
    • Mercer Island School District is meeting remotely. We vote by roll call, all non-essential business has been suspended. Meeting on Zoom, executive session is in Google Hangout. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
Recorded 3/30/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • There have been no further changes to OPMA (see notes from March 26).
Recorded 3/26/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Public needs to be able to listen to the virtual board meeting in real-time. The meeting cannot be recorded and posted in place of holding a live virtual meeting.
  • The public must be informed via any means possible, such as your website, social media, etc., of the changes to the board meeting requirements.
  • Board action must be either necessary or routine. “Necessary” means that the action must take place; “routine” means something that you have done before and would do typically. Something of a very controversial nature and can wait should be postponed so that the public is able to participate fully.
  • If the board goes into executive session, they can run another virtual meeting for just board members while the screen of the public virtual meeting is covered and muted for the public meeting space until members are able to return to the public meeting virtual space.
Recorded 3/25/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Governor issued Proclamation 2028 on public meetings and public records suspending the language of OPMA that requires school boards to have a physical space for a meeting. It requires that meetings be held remotely. This remains in effect until April 23rd. Proclamation also requires that public has telephonic access for attendance; attendees must be able to hear one another. Requirements prohibiting registration are also suspended. Suspends the ability for the board to take action unless the topic is “necessary and routine” or “necessary and in response to COVID-19”; all other actions must be postponed. The board may consider recommending public comment via email.
  • Take a “plain language approach” to determine “is it necessary” and/or “is it routine.” If you haven’t discussed it before and it doesn’t need to be done right now, it can be put on pause.
  • Central Kitsap's Board met today. We approved our Consent Agenda, had a budget update, passed WSSDA's emergency proclamation, and agreed to sign required documents electronically.  We used Zoom and some community members called in to the meeting.  We also arranged for public comment to be sent before the meeting.  There were none. (Jeanie Schulze, Central Kitsap)
IMPORTANT UPDATE: In light of Governor Inslee’s March 24th proclamation, see WSSDA’s update on open public meetings. Recorded 3/24/20
  • It is permissible to send an email to board members for informational purposes. It would be helpful to communicate in the message that members should not respond as to avoid a quorum. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • If OPMA is not followed, any action taken by board could be null and void. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/23/20 Some information recorded on this day was removed because it is no longer valid due to the changing nature of the situation.
  • Model resolution or a version thereof should be adopted so that boards can continue functioning within requirements. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • School board should attempt a link to their board meeting if at all possible, in the spirit of transparency. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The model resolution allows the superintendent to suspend portions of policies or whole policies that would prevent the board from adhering to official guidance. Adoption of the resolution does not remove the board as the governing body and you can continue to conduct the board’s business as usual. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/19/20 Some information recorded on this day was removed because it is no longer valid due to the changing nature of the situation.
  • Public comments do not need to be read out loud and can be posted on the website but it should be announced where the comments will be posted. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Zoom set up at district office was offered for board meeting. Public comment was required to be emailed during the meeting and the message was read during the meeting. (Melissa Beard, Tumwater SD)
  • We are going to Zoom for our next meeting. Everyone welcome, link sent out to the community and Superintendent will be in the typical meeting room for public. (Amy Huntley, Ocean Beach)
  • Beware of "ZoomBombing." Anyone publicly sharing Zoom links where they could be discovered by trolls, like from social media, should be sure to change screensharing settings to “Host Only” before a call starts. See article.
Recorded 3/18/20 Some information recorded on this day was removed because it is no longer valid due to the changing nature of the situation.
  • Using DocuSign to sign board packets.
  • Executive Sessions can be held remotely/virtually; notice must be posted (such as on website). Mercer Island SD met today with the board room available utilizing Zoom (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island SD)
Recorded 4/2/20
  • It is possible but not determined yet if there will be a special session. There will be much to advocate for in the 2021 Legislative Session and priorities will be determined in the months ahead. Advocacy efforts might include the prevention of reduction of school funding, if that were a consideration. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/31/20
  • The next WA state revenue forecast will be released in June and will be our first indication of the level of impact on our state’s economy. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/30/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • April elections were not canceled by the Governor; the decision to cancel, or not, is in the authority of county commissioners.
  • Some counties are considering delaying property tax collections. However at this time we are being told that this delay would most likely not apply to property taxes paid through escrow accounts.
  • The economic tale on this crisis will last a long time; layoffs and unemployment will have a lasting impact on our economy and future available revenue.
  • Long-range fiscal planning will be impacted by lessened state revenue. Districts are encouraged to review their four-year budget and consider the impact of any new or reoccurring costs before reaching agreement on any open bargaining agreements. Review WSSDA’s Budget and Bargaining Manual before moving forward with any contracts. 
Recorded 3/26/20 
  • Districts should be considering fund balance in the case that tax collections are postponed (yet to be determined). (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • In the next week or two, districts should start seriously considering long-range fiscal planning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • We (Centralia School Board) rescinded our April special election at the request of our county elections office and anticipating that the governor would cancel it as well (before we received the news that he would not). (Lori Fast, Centralia)
Recorded 3/25/20
  • Potential suspension of April elections will have an impact on 16 school districts, especially in regards to reduction in force; the Governor has not yet made a decision.
  • Some county commissioners have requested a property tax collection delay.
Recorded 3/26/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • School districts do not need to be licensed as a childcare institution for students in kindergarten or older. The Department of Children Youth and Families is working on a guidance document to address the issue of students who are not enrolled in school under the age of kindergarten.
  • North Thurston Public Schools has child care in the schools, partnering with YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, as weekly camps. They are providing free childcare to all healthcare workers for free at least at some of those run by the Y. It opened it up to all healthcare workers and first responders wherever they live, work or are enrolled in school.  (Melissa Hartley, North Thurston)
  • In Shelton for childcare we have partnered with Mason General Hospital. They are helping with the program along with our district staff.  At this time it is for first responders and healthcare workers.  In Shelton we do not have a YMCA yet and no Boys and Girls Club.  We greatly appreciate the partnership with our local hospital. (Keri Davidson, Shelton)
3/24/20
  • Similar to meals, the proclamation and the Governor’s list of essential functions allow you to continue or begin providing child care for the children of healthcare workers, first responders, pharmacy or grocery store workers, or other children as you deem appropriate. Please continue to follow theDepartment of Health’s guidelines for maintaining health and safety in child care environments. (Chris Reykdal, OSPI)
  • The Department of Children Youth and Families is developing guidance on how school districts might be able to provide childcare to youth under the age of five and not yet enrolled in school. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some of the school districts in eastern Washington currently providing childcare: Walla Walla, Central Valley, Dayton, Spokane Public Schools
Recorded 3/23/20
  • Districts are encouraged to continue providing childcare to children of essential service providers. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/19/20
  • OSPI’s guidance on essential staff who districts will serve with childcare include health care and first responders employees who are needed on the front lines working are the essential staff; districts have the authority to expand their definition of essential. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • District-run daycare using the "summer camp" model for first responders. A letter has gone out to those organizations to gauge interest. A copy of the letter is available to share. The childcare would be open and free from 6 am – 8 pm for children 30 months to 12 years old for essential service providers. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen)
  • OSPI is working to identify gaps in services and look to alternative methods for childcare to respond to the need across the state. Considering the development of a regional or state drop off site map. (Michaela Miller, OSPI)
  • We partner with our hospital to do health checks with students in our childcare. (Sandra Tarzwell, Shelton)
  • NTPS has been providing childcare for all first responders and healthcare who are in hospitals and urgent care settings. Kyle Cronk from YMCA has been an amazing community partner. We started with Capital Medical Center and went from there. Cielo and Together! are providing a camp model for Spanish speaking families. (Gretchen Maliska, North Thurston)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • Riverview School District sent out a survey to our parents. (Lori Oviatt, Riverview SD)
  • MISD planning for no more than 50 individuals per building, 10 individuals in each room (staff/student mix as appropriate or needed). I think this is per the order. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island SD)
  • We've been aiming to keep rooms to no more than 10 kids and we are trying to follow the social distancing guidelines. 6% of 55,000 is 3,000 which is a LARGE number of children per site. We are trying to open 35 sites. That’s a lot of children per site. (Chandra Hampson, Seattle)
  • MISD is aware of volunteers wanting to help, but background checks are still paramount for caregiving (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
  • Engaged YMCA summer programs and another local, summer program – hired their staff to come in to provide support (Bob Swain, Northshore SD)
  • Essential staff needing childcare support includes healthcare, first/emergency responders, grocery store employees (Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah SD)
  • Keep rooms to no more than 10 kids and we are trying to follow the social distancing guidelines. Items have been brought in for individual student engagement so students are touching similar items (i.e., books in library) Military child care available on two sites at JBLM. Bethel planning to share info with our parents. (Brenda Rogers, Bethel SD)
Recorded 3/30/20
  • Construction can continue, per the Governor’s Proclamation. If construction ceases now due to a contractor’s decision-making, check your contracts when there is a return to work to be certain that agreements are continued. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/26/20
  • School district construction can continue within the parameters of the Governor’s stay at home order. If a construction company determines that they will not continue working due to safety issues, construction could then cease until the company brings their employees back to work. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Updated 3/26/20
  • Per OSPI on 3/26/20 at 10:30 a.m. school construction is considered essential.
Recorded 4/6/20
  • OSPI issued further guidance on continuous learning.
  • State Board of Education will release updated draft rules for public comment sometime today (April 6, 2020). The proposed draft rules will maintain maximum flexibility for school boards to address credit waivers. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Feedback to draft rules must be received via email by Tuesday, April 7th at noon. SBE will meet to adopt rules on Wednesday, April 8th. (MJ Bolt, SBE)
  • Comcast has connectivity that leads to 90% of Washington households; if there is funding made available, more widely-available access to the Internet is possible. For the remaining 10% of Washingtonians, there are strategies for increasing access such as those modeled by the military in remote areas. The Department of Commerce is looking at accessible dollars to increase access for all. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Department of Education is considering how federal funding/title program dollars might be used for increasing access to technology. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Federal government is considering how to increase flexibility within IDEA. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Staff, including paraeducators, may be providing additional remediation to students via phone or virtual meeting. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Many school districts are finding ways to connect socially and emotionally to their students such as making videos with staff and teachers communicating a unified, inspiring message or creating a solo cup message in a school’s chain link fence (Tacoma). (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Peninsula is starting a YouTube playlist/channel with continuous learning videos from our teachers. (Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
  • Bellevue School District has created a survey to check in with families for what is working and what is not in regards to continuous learning. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
Recorded 4/2/20
  • If school closures extend through the end of the year, an increasingly rigorous continuous learning plan may be expected of school districts. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Cell on Wheels (COWs) - traveling trucks providing internet access - may be made available to areas that don’t have access to broadband. Several public and private entities are currently partnering to explore the possibilities of expanding internet access to Washington households. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Public Broadcast Service is offering free online learning strategies and could be one option/opportunity for continuous learning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • There is no one magic bullet to reaching all kids. Many different approaches must be attempted. Staff from all classified and non-classified units are helping by calling students and families. Bus drivers are delivering technology to families. Staff are working with teachers and advocacy groups in the area to offer ideas and provide support to students/families. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are increasing data for cell/internet usage. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Flash drives being used to deliver some materials to some students rather than printing; not a universal solution for all but works for some.(Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
  • In Ocean Beach School District, several of our local business, like McDonalds, Adrift Hotel and others in town are letting kids access their wi-fi networks from their parking lots. (John Holtermann, Ocean Beach)
  • Free webinar opportunity for anyone to participate on April 3, 2020 from 1-3 pm: Moving Beyond the Packet: Creating More Culturally Responsive Distance Learning Experiences. The link for this webinar has been sent out via e-Clippings. (Aurora Flores, Manson)
  • If a staff member is concerned about using private telephone to contact students and their families, they can enter *67 before dialing the student’s number. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • If you subscribe to Google Voice or Cisco Jabber, you can get your own phone number that can function as phone and/or transcription system. You must have a gmail account in order to access this free service. (Francine Wiest, Bellevue)
  • WSSDA is developing tools to support school board action related to SBE’s upcoming emergency rules on credit waivers. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Consider if graduation ceremonies might be able to occur in June or July. (Student Representative, Olympia)
  • Mukilteo School District is working with external organizations to fulfill print request for learning materials by families. (Judy Schwab, Mukilteo)
  • OSPI bulletin 022-20 provides guidance on remote learning for students with IEPs. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/31/20
  • To solidify expectations for seniors as soon as possible, SBE predicts that draft rules will be available for public review and comment by April 3rd. Public comment on the draft rules will need to be submitted to SBE by April 7th. The process for submitting public comment will be included with the release of the draft rules. Rules will provide some flexibility for districts to determine how to meet requirements. This rulemaking will apply only to students anticipated to graduate in the 2019-2020 school year. (MJ Bolt, SBE)
  • OSPI has determined that state assessments will not be required. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The waiver of standardized testing as required by ESSA has been approved by the US Department of Education. (Marie Sullivan, WA PTA)
  • OSPI is contemplating how to release students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) from taking a state assessment if currently required in their plan. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
Recorded 3/30/20 
  • Continuous learning requirements started today for all Washington school districts. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • April 8th is the next meeting of State Board of Education; the agenda intends to include the adoption of rules to allow waivers for high school graduation. Draft rules for this purpose will be available in the days ahead for review and public comment no later than April 7th. SBE understands the urgency for decision-making. The focus on the rules is to provide flexibility and prioritize giving the ability for seniors to graduate. (MJ Bolt, SBE)
  • Bulletin 24-20:  OSPI will launch a data collection tool to collect information about the nutrition, childcare, and educational services districts are providing. This bulletin from OSPI includes a sample plan template, not required for use, and a sample continuous learning workflow (page 7). More information will be forthcoming. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • School districts are not required to submit their Continuous Learning Plans to OSPI for approval. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some districts are providing continuous learning packets that are being translated into language spoken at home and being developed to be more “parent/guardian”-friendly to better enable delivery. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • A teacher in a remote area is providing instruction to a student with disabilities by phone on Sundays, as that is the only day available in the family. It is understood that any effort to provide instruction is good and evaluation of progress is important. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
  • T-Mobile has a program called “Empower Ed” providing subsidized and/or free cell service to families. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/26/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • School districts should be focused on providing instruction to all students in any way possible within the stay at home order through technology, paper and pen, phone calls, email, apps, etc. The delivery does not need to be perfect. Make a plan, implement it, monitor it, and then adjust it.  Everyone involved is going to need to be flexible.
  • As districts are finding strategies to reach all students with instruction, we will be sharing those strategies on our weekly calls and here on this website.
Recorded 3/25/20 
  • Education must continue and districts should determine how to provide instruction no later than March 30, 2020 (based on OSPI guidance).
  • School districts should develop a plan to implement remote learning (based on OSPI guidance).
  • Develop a plan that considers how to address the needs of all students; continue to monitor and adjust.
  • Engagement and interaction are important for students to maintain connection and learning. The decisions being made are in tandem with labor union. The district has made it clear that changes will occur and decisions are fluid. For those teachers/administrators that want to go above and beyond, they should be allowed to do so as they are trailblazers for others. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • The district conducted a successful Zoom meeting with 950 employees. Teachers were empowered to reach out to their students and were given flexibility for how and when to make contact.
  • We will utilize Google Classroom, launching K-6 direct instruction in Math next week, developing a schedule to include content focus days and will launch English Language Arts after spring break. (Marty Brewer, Port Angeles)
  • Teams and administrators have developed “engage” to provide support to community members and teachers with information on student engagement, meals, IT support, childcare, communication and FAQs. https://www.engage.rsd407.org/post/riverview-launches-engage-website-for-covid-19-support (Lori Oviatt, Riverview)
  • Schools may continue to provide continued instruction even through the spring break timeline. Districts should consider local bargaining agreements before deciding on how to move forward. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • School districts may consider a “credit/no credit” related to grading. Some districts will move toward pass/fail (based on OSPI guidance).
  • Districts should be prepared to provide support/instruction to parents on how to use technology if the districts is moving toward virtual learning opportunities. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • Peninsula School District is engaging their students with Too Cool for School - Virtual Kids Camp. (Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
Recorded 3/24/20
  • Board and superintendent teams should review current resources and opportunities to enable student learning.
  • Superintendent worked over the weekend following school closures to develop a plan that included an MOU for all staff. The district then trained the staff on remote learning possibilities; provided Chrome books and computer access for those students in grades 6-12 who did not have access previously. K-5 students receive packets on Monday and return by Friday while teachers follow up with students each week. (Eric Rindal, Walla Walla)
  • Payment for hotspots have been covered in some areas by local banks and business. If school districts do no have this option, paper and pen instruction can be the focus. (Tim Garchow, WSSA)
  • Innovia.org is an option for providing online learning support. (Katherine Leid, Dayton)
  • Local telephone company donated internet access to homes with students in the community who did not already have it. (Harmon Smith, LaCrosse)
  • OSPI is seeking additional funding for compensatory services and additional hours/days to provide instructions to students with disabilities. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may also receive funding to provide hotpots and/or Internet access for students who are low-income. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
  • Students can receive a Pass/Fail in place of a grade to help seniors to earn credits necessary for graduation. See additional guidance from OSPI and SBE. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
  • Considerations for credit requirements, graduation ceremonies, learning approaches, and budgets will be forthcoming. (Tim, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • SBE is working on emergency rulemaking that will address graduation waivers – stay tuned.
  • OSPI will work to provide guidance that will address the needs of all students, including students with disabilities, in line with Federal requirements. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Parent-friendly lesson plans being developed by many school districts.
  • Some districts are offering 1:1 teaching and learning with computers and hotspots.
  • Do what you can with what you have. If you can’t do it online because of a lack of technology resources, focus on pen and paper.
  • Many teachers are using their time to check in with students on a daily or weekly schedule. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • See OSPI’s issued guidance (released on March 20) on assessments
Recorded 3/19/20
  • Guidance on expectations for student learning is underway. The system of delivering instruction for special population rests on the foundation of basic education and supplemental programs are in addition to basic education. OSPI encourages districts to request teacher engagement with students and families by phone calls, at minimum. Districts should also be considering 1:1 technology opportunities that exist within the district and community. Urge school districts to work collaboratively and to await guidance, which will be made available on Monday, March 23rd. Social and emotional needs of students is also of paramount importance; a simple call from a teacher can significantly help to improve social and emotional health. (Michaela Miller, OSPI)
  • For packet pick up, the district borrowed flyer boxes from a realty company to allow parent pick up of learning packets. (Amy Huntley, Ocean Beach)
  • State Board of Education (SBE) is working closely with OSPI to address the needs of senior class for 2020. Schools will need to apply for waiver from SBE. (Patty Wood, SBE)
  • Teachers are checking in regularly with students to assess attempts to progress toward learning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • WIAA maintains authority over state tournaments. (Michaela Miller, OSPI)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • I’ve heard that some districts are delivering work packets and parent family lesson plans in the delivered lunches (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Please share this website on educational resources: https://www.nsd.org/northshorelearns/home-learning (Bob Swain, Northshore SD)
  • These aren't constraints. Every child deserves a fair and appropriate public education. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island SD)
  • SBE amended the COVID bill last week in the legislature to allow them to temporarily change their graduation rulemaking in light of this pandemic. See March 26 & April 8 meetings. (Mary Fertakis, SBE)
  • Northshore started to plan for online learning on March 9th and handed out 3500 devices, included hotspots for families that needed internet, paraeducators were working with students with disabililties (Amy Cast & Bob Swain, Northshore SD)
Recorded 3/30/20
  • Bulk distribution of food on Friday (120,000 meal packs estimated) for food security in Yakima. Food service workers fall into high-risk groups; other certified/classified staff (principals, teachers, etc.) have volunteered to pack and distribute lunch sacks. Support from the community has included packing bags, fruit boxes, and other supplies. (Martha Rice, Yakima)
Recorded 3/24/20
  • The proclamationand the Governor’s list of “essential critical infrastructure workers” allow you to continue serving meals to your students and the children in your communities. It is OSPI’s expectation that you will continue the fantastic work you have already done to ensure our young people have access to the nutritious meals they need. (Chris Reykdal, OSPI)
  • While no official guidance on whether or not to provide school meals during a district’s scheduled “spring break” timeframe exists at this time, districts should strongly consider feeding students during this time frame. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • Districts are encouraged to continue providing meals in any way possible, even during the planned spring break week. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Pierce County heat map reflects food distribution sites for school districts in the county. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Drive-up program from 18 to 12 schools for any child 18 or under and could be any child in the district that includes a lunch and breakfast. Access is available from 10:30-12:30. Principals and assistant principals are staffing in addition to other staff. The child(ren) receiving a meal must be accompanied by a parent. Up to 31,000 meals each day. (Martha Rice, Yakima)
Recorded 3/20/20
  • We strongly encourage folks to consider serving in apartment complexes where there is the greatest need. This has been highly successful for us in getting a ton of food out to kids who need it - especially as families are understandably nervous to leave their homes. It also has the benefit of reducing the number of kids who will try to stick around on school grounds to play on equipment and possibly spread contagion. We're just adding sites as we find pockets and asking principals to let us know when we need to add sites. (Hilary Seidel, Olympia)
  • We are doing meals at schools plus home delivery. We have some remote locations so using bus routes was not efficient as some stops are 1 kid. (Troy McCoy, Battle Ground)
Recorded March 19, 2020
  • Buses running elementary school routes with breakfast and lunch to any child under the age of 19 (a little over 5,000 students) through summer lunch program; meals being provided also for any student walk-ups to elementary schools. Bus drivers designed the strategy and played an essential role. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen SD)
  • Partnership with the local YMCA summer program to provide support to hand out meals. (Jim Stoffer, Sequim SD)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • Pick up lunches at school. If they come grab lunch, they can also grab breakfast for the next day. Replication of summer services. (Christine Chew, Bellevue SD)
  • We’re doing both - pick up lunch and breakfast and bus drivers are taking meals to areas with larger distribution such as lower income housing developments. (Caroline Mason, Everett SD)
  • We have the buses run the elementary school and make each stop to give out meals (Carolynn Perkins, Bremerton)
  • Distributing Monday Wednesday Friday, providing multiple meals (Lee Anne Riddle, Ferndale SD)
  • Districts in Pierce County (15 total) worked together to establish a map where students in the county can pick up at those sites, also includes breakfast for the next day (Elizabeth Bonbright, Tacoma Public Schools) – map will be distributed later
  • Parents are being asked to pick up at Bethel schools from 1800 to 2068 students in one day (Brenda Rogers, Bethel SD)
Recorded 4/6/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Governor Inslee issued a proclamation extending the school closure to the end of the school year.
  • ACT/SAT dates have been extended into late spring.
  • Students planning on taking AP tests may still be able to do so from home.
  • WSSDA’s e-Clippings is running seven days a week and is a way for members to stay informed.
  • Superintendent Reykdal is developing a weekly video series where he answers questions from the field and provides relevant updates.
Recorded 4/2/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • OSPI is requiring districts to submit data related to school meals and childcare. School districts are not currently required to submit continuous learning plans to OSPI.
  • The Association of Washington School Principals is developing a virtual graduation toolkit that schools will be able to access for free to help districts determine alternative means for graduation celebrations – should school be closed for the rest of the school year.
  • On a call this week, some members of higher education suggested the concept of a uniform designator on high school transcripts for the current school year.
  • If the school closure extends through the rest of the year, OSPI may provide further guidance on continuous learning expectations.
Recorded 3/31/20
  • While the current expectation is that schools will return to regular operations on April 27th, school districts should prepare for closures through the end of the school year in the case that the Governor decides to extend school closures. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Boards should be focusing now on how best to communicate messages to the community, including how to respond questions from the media and/or public. Effective communication is key to leading the system toward solutions and keeping calm in the midst of uncertain times. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some districts are utilizing their 3-D printers and open-source coding to manufacture PPE for their local medical communities (certain specifications for printers are required to do this work). Here is a link to a web site with NIH-approved designs. https://3dprint.nih.gov/(Tim Garchow, WSSDA and Maggie Tai Tucker, Mercer Island)
Recorded 3/30/2020
  • If school districts have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to donate that is not needed for those providing childcare and other essential services, the Educational Service Districts (ESDs) will accept any sizes. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • In addition to being a board member, I also do recreation mapping and have created a map www.washingtonhometown.com/crisismap with resources. If there is any information that districts would like to add, I am happy to include it. (Right now, when you click on a county you get information about the county emergency page and conditions, we could add that for the county. Or we can add food distribution areas with information - as we have done with the Ellensburg school district point at Morgan Middle School.) (Jennifer Hackett, Ellensburg)
Recorded 3/26/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • We are reinventing learning – and effectively in a matter of days, when we would otherwise be making changes like these after months and years.
  • April elections will continue as scheduled unless counties decide to postpone; the County Commissioners of Stevens, Snohomish and King Counties have requested a delay. We are waiting to hear if the election officials in those counties are going to take action on those requests.
  • State Board of Education will share draft rules addressing graduation requirements and waivers on April 1st and public comment must be received no later than Tuesday, April 7th. Learn more at https://www.sbe.wa.gov/news/updated-covid-19-information. State Board will defer to the Local Education Agencies (LEA) to determine if they will submit a district waiver to SBE to provide for student graduation waivers. Local school boards will need to consider waivers for any local graduation requirements. (Patty Wood, SBE)
Recorded 3/25/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Calm, consistent leadership is paramount. Self-care and care of others is essential if we are to be effective.
  • Your entire board can join these calls as they are informational and not conducting official business on behalf of your districts.
  • State Board of Education (SBE) is working on credit waivers for 12th grade/senior students for the purpose of graduation requirements. See Thursday's SBE board meeting.
  • Review OSPI guidance and Governor’s proclamations regarding all topics below for clarity and direction.
  • It is imperative that superintendents and school board teams have talking points and stay on topic when communicating with members of the community and media.
Recorded 3/24/20 
  • School districts should prepare to return to school on April 27th and also prepare for the possibility that school closures will continue through the end of the school year. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The State Board of Education is currently considering changes to the credit waivers for graduation requirements, and WSSDA is working closely with SBE to complete this task. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Secretary of State has recommended to the Governor that the April elections be canceled. The Governor has not made a decision; WSSDA has expressed and will continue to express concern regarding the impact to school districts, namely levy impact and possible reductions in force. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/2/2020
  • School boards should endeavor to recognize district staff for their exceptional efforts. (Cindy McMullen, Central Valley)
Recorded 3/31/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Washington Association of Superintendents and Administrators (WASA) is curating MOUs from districts throughout the state.
Recorded 3/26/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • If you currently have open contracts and your unions are requesting to bargain, you cannot refuse to bargain. If you are going to bargain, you should use virtual meetings to do so. Understand that budgets are likely to change in the months and year ahead. As such, consider those potential changes and the impacts that may have on your ability to add any additional recurring costs to your CBA’s.
Recorded 3/24/20
  • Most school districts are seeing staff stepping up to respond to this challenge. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • It is OSPI’s expectation that district operations, including payroll, maintenance, IT services, and others, will continue. In adherence to the Governor’s proclamation, most, if not all, of your staff should be teleworking. If you have staff coming into your facilities, they must continue following social distancing and hygiene guidelines. (Chris Reykdal, OSPI)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • Employees are expected to be engaged in meaningful work, if at all possible. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Districts are encouraged to wait to make any agreements with employees (such as an MOU) until decisions are finalized about expectations and further guidance has been released.
  • Guidance on certified staff was distributed by OSPI on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Recorded 3/19/20
  • Evergreen School District has developed an MOU with teachers, as well as an FAQ document, that can be shared. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen SD)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • Clover Park has signed MOUs with all our bargain units. (Paul Wagemann, Clover Park SD)
  • Refer to the Employment Security Department of Washington state.

Disclaimer

These notes provide a conduit for WSSDA’s members to share information. It may include legal information but does not constitute legal advice. Individual comments are date stamped for reference and context. Please note that WSSDA makes no guarantee that the information shared is or remains current. These notes are consolidated and do not represent all comments received. WSSDA retains exclusive control of these notes and reserves the right to edit, consolidate, and/or delete comments. WSSDA will discontinue these notes when/as it sees fit. Nothing about these notes should be construed as constituting any type of forum for public expression.