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Dear Issaquah School District Community,
I have a difficult announcement to share with you all today. Following the executive order issued by the Governor of the State of Washington, the Issaquah School District will close all schools from Friday, March 13 through Friday, April 24. This closure includes the cancellation of all out-of-district transportation, events, athletic practices, field trips, and competitions. While the Governor’s order becomes effective at midnight on Tuesday, March 17, due to increasing staff shortages, we feel it best to begin the closure Friday.
All school offices will be open regular hours through Tuesday, March 17 to allow for parents and students to retrieve personal items or medications as needed while schools are closed. Staff are expected to report to work at their regularly scheduled time until further notice.
We recognize that this extended closure creates significant challenges for many of our families and community. Our schools allow workers to provide for their families and serve the community, knowing that their children are receiving a high quality education while being well cared for at school. Many students receive nutritious meals from their school and also receive the social-emotional supports they need.
We care deeply, and we are assessing what options we have to best provide child care, nutritious meals, emergency learning resources, and other vital services during the closure. Our goal is to reduce the negative impacts to students and families as much as possible.
In the coming days, our staff will be at work and focused on implementing and adjusting these plans. We will share updates about these items through E-News, our websites, and our social media channels as we finalize the details of our plans.
I think it is important to let you know that we may be asked by the state or the health department to extend the closure period. If this occurs, we will communicate to families as soon as possible to allow time to prepare.
Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we work together to continue to care for our students, staff, and families during these difficult times. We will get through this, and we will do it by taking care of each other, treating each other with kindness and compassion, and holding together as a community.
Ron Thiele, Superintendent
Issaquah School District
Dear ISD Community,
Following up on our earlier communication, the Issaquah School District is following Governor Jay Inslee’s directive to make contingency plans for possible school closures. While some of our neighboring districts have made a decision to close starting tomorrow, we are continuing to follow the advice of health officials. At this time, Public Health Seattle & King County continues to recommend that schools stay open. Therefore, All ISD Schools will be on a regular schedule tomorrow.
However, the Issaquah School District will close when guidance is given to the District by the State of Washington or Public Health of Seattle & King County or in the event we do not have sufficient staff to safely operate school. Please note: we have been informed that we will receive more direction from the Governor’s office on Thursday and will update the community as soon as we have additional information to share.
The ISD Leadership Team
Today Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, directed school districts to prepare contingency plans for school closures. District leadership has been meeting and formulating plans for scenarios where schools are closed for an extended period of time. This will be the first message of several that will be coming out as we work to solve numerous challenges.
We are in communication with the Governor’s Office, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Public Health Seattle & King County, and community partners to collaboratively plan to provide critical services for our students and families. We encourage families to do their own contingency planning.
Please watch for updates regarding our contingency plans via E-News, District and school web sites, and social media.
Dear ISD Community,
Public Health continues to recommend school districts remain open and at this time there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Issaquah School District. As a reminder, volunteer work, staff travel, facilities use by outside groups, field trips, games, concerts, and other evening events have been suspended through March 20. The ISD will continue to hold athletic practices, student clubs and activities (elementary and secondary) before and after school child care, and music or drama rehearsals. Please continue to watch our website and our coronavirus COVID-19 FAQ page for updates and information.
Here is helpful information to consider when making a decision about sending your child to school:
UPDATE: If you have fever, cough or shortness of breath and have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should contact your healthcare provider for guidance. Public Health currently recommends that people with these symptoms should stay home and away from others until 72 hours after the fever is gone and symptoms get better. This is without the assistance of fever-reducing medication.
We appreciate everyone helping us to practice good hygiene and follow the recommendations provided by Public Health of Seattle & King County to the best extent possible for your family.
Dear Issaquah School District Learning Community,
We are thankful for the suggestions, ideas, and support you have given us as we strive to keep our students and staff safe. We are deeply appreciative of our staff and their efforts to support our students on a daily basis. We want to reiterate that there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Issaquah School District at this time. Public Health – Seattle & King County continues to recommend that schools remain open. You can find the most current guidance from Public Health on their website.
The following two items below have been added to our FAQ page.
In a memo sent on Friday, March 6, OSPI states the following:
DISTANCE/ONLINE LEARNING Many districts have requested additional guidance regarding the feasibility and legality of providing online learning in the event of an extended school closure. OSPI does not recommend closed schools transition to an online distance model unless the district can ensure each of the considerations below can be met. These include, but are not limited to:
Teachers will work with students and families to make up the coursework according to our attendance policies and procedures. In the event that you opt to keep your student/s at home, the current practice for school work requests remains the same as for all excused absences.
When your student returns to school, curriculum-based papers that have been distributed during their absence will be available. It should be noted that in-class instruction and learning cannot be replicated at home so there will be components of daily learning from the classroom that cannot be accessed due to the collaborative nature of a classroom-based program. These learning opportunities are not be a replacement for the full learning currently delivered in schools.
Our decisions may change as this situation evolves. We are committed to providing you with timely and accurate updates. We will continue to update our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page. We want to express our appreciation for the patience of our Issaquah School District community as we work through the daily challenges COVID-19 has presented us. Please continue to visit our FAQ page and watch your email inbox for notices from the Issaquah School District
Dear ISD Families, Staff, and Community
Thank you for partnering with us as we navigate this challenging time. The ISD is committed to providing accurate and timely information to our community. Unfortunately, many rumors and falsehoods are being spread throughout the community and on social media. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our District.
Public Health of Seattle & King County has made schools a priority and has stated clearly that they will inform us immediately should a case be confirmed in our District. Please follow our E-News, website, and official social media for status updates regarding our schools to ensure you are receiving accurate information. Please continue to visit our FAQ page and watch your email inbox for notices from the Issaquah School District
Dear ISD Community,
This message is to inform you of an important decision the ISD has made today to enact several new safety measures in response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We believe the measures are necessary in order for the ISD to continue its educational mission, keep schools open, and meet its obligations to the wider community. We recognize that these new precautions will likely create hardships in our community. However, these measures are being put in place to reduce exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the number of people coming in and out of our buildings, to conserve vital resources, align with neighboring districts with whom we are working closely, and follow recent Public Health Department recommendations.
The following measures will be in effect immediately and through Friday, March 20. We will continue to provide updates whenever we have new information to share. The community can expect information on or before March 20 with regard to whether we will continue with these measures, enact new ones, or return to our normal operations.
In order to maximize our resources toward the cleaning of our schools, we will be canceling external rentals and use of our district facilities. Please note: this includes all field use. It is important to enable our custodians to focus on the daily strategic cleaning and disinfecting required of them and to conserve cleaning supplies. We are so thankful for our custodians’ dedication to their work!
This includes day trips as well as local and out state travel and in-house field trips with guest speakers. Please note: Participation in events that are already underway, including DECA and the Issaquah High School Girl’s Basketball State Tournament, will be allowed to finish without interruption.
We know how much our community loves to enjoy our students’ many talents. However, in an effort to reduce possible exposure to visitors attending our events or to students from people coming in, we feel this is an important precaution. Information nights may be rescheduled or modified.
All out of district work-related trips by ISD Staff will be suspended for this period unless authorized as essential by executive administration (Cabinet).
We so appreciate our volunteers! However, in an effort to limit the number of people coming in and out of our buildings we need to suspend volunteering in our schools.
This only applies to staff-led activities, such as sports practices. Clubs led by outside organizations and vendors will be cancelled.
Parents and guardians who have meetings scheduled, a need to come to the front office, or pick up or drop off a student may do so. However, we encourage parents and guardians to communicate by email or phone in an effort to reduce people coming in and out of the building.
Again, these measures will be in effect immediately through Friday, March 20. The community can expect information on or before March 20 with regard to whether we will continue with these measures, enact new ones, or return to our normal operations.
Please know that we did not make these decisions lightly. While we recognize the impact, we believe it is in the best interest of our students, staff, and community. We will continue to work with our neighboring districts, Public Health of Seattle and King County, and municipal partners in our response. Thank you for your understanding. Please continue to watch our website, social media, and E-News for new information.
ISD Leadership Team
Our custodians and other staff are working diligently to disinfect all areas of our buildings, with special attention to hard surfaces and our buses. Please refer to our FAQ page for more information on our cleaning efforts.
We are working with Public Health Seattle & King County, monitoring the situation in our schools closely, and meeting with neighboring districts and municipal partners to coordinate our efforts. We will update you by E-News, websites and social media with any new information as it becomes available.
At this time the Department of Health guidance regarding school operations has not changed. Schools will remain open. We will inform you if there are any changes to activities.
Please be assured that as a parent or legal guardian, you have the right to excuse your student’s absence on any given day. If you decide to keep your child home as a precaution, please contact your school's attendance office.
To help provide you with updates related to COVID-19, we have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page on the District website to help make it easier to find the information that you need. The FAQ addresses many of the questions we have received from families and community members including information about our response plans.
We will continue to send messages out via E-News when new or important information becomes available. Please refer to our web page for information that has previously been communicated and take a moment to read through our FAQ.
Schools are large, public settings with plenty of social interaction and everyone is concerned about how children will be affected. Health officials from Public Health – Seattle & King County and the CDC weighed recommendations for schools very carefully. The available data about COVID-19 cases has shown that children and youth have not been high risk groups for serious illness from this virus. COVID-19 infection in children tends to be more like a common cold or a mild fever.
We know that schools are doing the important work of educating our children. We don’t want to disrupt that unless there are known coronavirus exposure risks. We also know that school closures have other impacts on working parents. In addition, school closures can be disruptive and costly for families, and we consider both the potential benefits and negative consequences of closures when we make recommendations.
Public Health is not recommending closing schools at this time. If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19, Public Health will work with the school and the district to determine the best measures including potential school closure. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities.
Please see https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/novel-coronavirus/protection.aspx for this article and more information.