Middle School

Middle school students will not be using hallway lockers to start the school year as this will provide for more efficient movement in the hallways and prevent crowding.

As of mid-October 2021 schools are beginning the process of issuing lockers in the school locker rooms to 6th grade students who are participating in physical education classes. With our relatively low numbers of cases, and our newly implemented test to stay program, we feel that we can begin to open up locker room usage for all students for PE classes. Additionally we be investigating the possibility of returning to using our hallway lockers in the next several weeks.

Students will be able to enjoy elective classes such as PE and performing arts with their teachers in the gym or music room. Most of these spaces are quite large and allow for maximized social distancing. Weather permitting, classes may be held outside. Performing arts classes will follow the guidance provided by the Washington State Department of Health on October 4, 2021.

As of mid-October 2021 schools are beginning the process of issuing lockers in the school locker rooms to 6th grade students who are participating in physical education classes. With our relatively low numbers of cases, and our newly implemented test to stay program, we feel that we can begin to open up locker room usage for all students for PE classes. Additionally we be investigating the possibility of returning to using our hallway lockers in the next several weeks.

Many procedures are being implemented districtwide to minimize COVID. These include mask wearing, social distancing, ventilation, grouping students, etc. These procedures have proven successful as was seen last year when students returned to in-person learning, during Summer School and in the BASC program. It is our goal to maximize student attendance and to minimize COVID. 

Individuals who display symptoms of illness while on campus will be sent to a supervised isolation room until parents can be called to come to take the child home. Each building has a designated COVID Supervisor who is typically the principal or assistant principal. The COVID Supervisor will follow all the guidelines of Public Health-Seattle King County to assist families in determining the next steps when there is a confirmed positive case. The most updated guidance will be followed in all cases. 

Additional FAQ regarding this process can be found on the Safety Measures: Vaccines, Exposure, and Quarantine FAQ webpage.

As of the week of October 11, 2021, all Issaquah School District schools now offer the Test to Stay program for students who are unvaccinated, asymptomatic, and who became a close contact while attending school or a school sponsored activity. The Test to Stay program is an option for families who prefer their student(s) stay in school instead of quarantining. All tests will either be given at school with a parent present or from an approved testing agency.

The ISD will continue to follow the guidance provided by the Washington State Department of Health issued on October 4, 2021. All staff and students must continue to wear face coverings / masks, regardless of vaccination status while indoors and / or on district buses. Masks are not required outdoors, but are strongly recommended for unvaccinated individual when outdoors in crowded spaces or when in close contact with people from outside their household for a sustained period of time. 

Please send your student to school with their own mask. If a student arrives without a mask, we will provide a standard 3-ply disposable medical type mask. 

Physical distancing requirements will not prevent us from providing full-time, in-person learning for all students. That being said, we will attempt to maintain three feet or more distance between students, as well as six feet or more between students and staff whenever possible and reasonable.

Passing time at middle school lasts 4-5 minutes. Students will be required to wear masks during passing time and will not be allowed to congregate. Students should keep moving in order to avoid prolonged close contact (closer than 3 feet for more than 15 minutes). Middle school students will not be using hallway lockers to start the school year as this will provide for more efficient movement in the hallways and prevent crowding. 

Schedules for middle school students will transition back to our pre-covid scheduling model. All students will attend daily Monday through Friday. There will not be a hybrid or remote option. We will maintain our late start Wednesday model. Bell times can be found on the district website. 

Group projects and learning can be an instructional approach, but teachers will still be expected to maximize distance during class. Students can still turn to face a small group while remaining 3’ or more apart. Students can share materials but should practice hand washing and/or hand sanitizing before and after sharing materials (example: science labs) 

We recognize that some families may desire a full-time remote/online learning option for 2021-22 due to various reasons related to COVID. In these cases, the ISD can assist families with enrollment in an accredited, OSPI approved, online school or in the Home-based program. These programs can be researched on the OSPI website. The ISD L.I.V.E remote model which was created for short-term use during the pandemic ended at the closure of the 2020-2021 school year. This enrollment page may also help with the process.

The decision to rely on established, accredited, online programs to serve families desiring an online option rather than creating a new program in the ISD was made by considering many factors. These programs have been approved and vetted through OSPI with research and data supporting their effectiveness. Flexibility to return to an in-person classroom is easily accommodated in these established programs.

We want you to be aware of what will happen this year when students must stay home because they were exposed to COVID or become COVID-positive. The Washington Department of Health has made changes to the definition of a close contact for K-12 education. Students may not be considered a close contact if they are wearing their masks and maintaining the new physical distancing guideline of three feet from one another to the degree possible. We will, of course, continue to consult with public health officials as needed, but this means we will likely have fewer students required to quarantine because they are determined not to be close contacts in our schools. 

Our middle and high school students who are fully vaccinated and remain asymptomatic will not need to quarantine. 

In middle and high school, if a situation arises in which a student is a close contact and is unvaccinated and/or develops symptoms (causing the student to quarantine), teachers will use their typical communication channels for any excused absence.

  • Teachers will continue to use Canvas as their learning management system. Class materials will be posted on Canvas.
  • Teachers will continue to communicate with students via Canvas and email.
  • Teachers may also communicate with families via email as needed. 
  • Teachers can arrange to have hard copy materials available for pick up in the main office if needed.

We look forward to serving your students. We have created backup and contingency plans in the event that absences resulting from COVID increase beyond levels we see for other illnesses. Both the district office staff and our partners in the Issaquah Education Association stand ready to respond and make adjustments to serve the needs of our students.

Specific direction for arriving to school will be provided by each middle school via their enews. Students typically pick up schedules and go to their first period class. Sixth grade students and students new to the school are invited to attend a WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) orientation prior to the first day of school. If you are new to the ISD or an incoming sixth grader, please plan to attend. 

Middle schools will be piloting 1:1 computer usage this year. Each school will publish the start date for when students should plan to bring a device to school on a daily basis. 

Students will not be required to complete a daily attestation prior to coming to school. Additionally, temperatures will not be checked prior to students entering the building. However, students should not attend school if they have been in close contact with anyone with confirmed Covid 19 or are sick or experiencing the following symptoms: 

  • Fever above 100.0 degrees 
  • Chills 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Unusual fatigue 
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headache 
  • Recent loss of taste or smell 
  • A sore throat 
  • Congestion / runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 

The first and most effective way to prevent the potential for positive cases of COVID during the school day in the school buildings is to practice COVID mitigation techniques and to follow guidance by the DOH. These techniques proved effective for in-person learning last year as well during summer school. 

To this end, each middle school will update the COVID Handbook and will make it available to students and staff. Principals will also share this document with the school community.

Please visit our Safety Measures: Vaccines, Exposure, and Quarantine Guidelines Frequently Asked Questions webpage for information on quarantines and specific scenario examples.

We will follow the guidance provided by the Washington State Department of Health issued on August 11, 2021. We will maximize the distance between students to the degree possible during lunchtime. This will be accomplished by providing outdoor eating areas when possible, distancing lunch tables, and designating travel (walking) paths. Several of our middle schools will have smaller school populations due to the opening of a sixth middle school (Cougar Mountain MS) which will lower total numbers of students at each building. This will help with spacing out students during lunch.

Lunch service will return to normal operations, from a student’s perspective. They will have options for the normal lunch lines, enter their PIN at the POS terminal and have access to the condiment bars. The menu may have less variety at the beginning as we get going but should also return to normal as staff adjust.

For additional lunch information, please visit our Lunches FAQ webpage.

Students will be prompted/reminded to wash their hands at multiple times throughout the day include any and all transitions (before/after class, lunch, recess, clubs, etc.). 

School libraries will be open but may have occupancy limits, or adjusted times to access the library to maximize distance between staff and students while using the library.

Curriculum Night is returning to our regular format in which we welcome families into the buildings. Because it is indoors, we are allowing one parent or guardian per enrolled student. We recognize there are no capacity limits at this time, however we have schools of varying sizes, and we want to ensure that there is room for our families to move around and keep distance from each other to the extent possible. This event has always been optional for families, and has been about seeing the facility, the equipment, meeting teachers in person, and following their student’s schedule as they would move through the school day. Teachers have often posted class materials like a PowerPoint, syllabus, or video for anyone unable to attend. Those practices will also resume or continue. While some staff may choose to record and post a session, that is not something we are requiring at this time. 

Parents will be invited to meet in person for meetings such as 504 or IEP. If the family prefers to meet over Zoom, that request will be accommodated. 

District ventilation systems are designed to exchange air in an interior space every 12-15 minutes or 4-5 air changes per hour (ACH), at a minimum. The district’s portable classrooms also have dedicated HVAC systems that are designed to exchange air every 12-15 minutes or 4-5 ACH, at a minimum. Based on EPA, CDC, and ASHRAE recommendations, the district has implemented the following strategies as part of a multiple layer approach to COVID mitigation: 

  • Air filters have been upgraded from MERV 8 to MERV 13, where possible, including portable classrooms. 
  • Air filters are changed on a quarterly basis at a minimum. 
  • Outside air dampers have been opened to the maximum extent to maximize fresh air into the building. 
  • Ventilation systems are running a minimum of 16 hours per day to completely change air several times overnight. 
  • Windows (where available) are opened to promote air exchange and allow even more fresh air into spaces. 

We plan to offer our typical athletics, clubs, and activities at all middle schools this fall. We will continue to follow the guidance provided by the Washington State Department of Health and other agencies to provide Covid mitigation strategies while continuing to offer activities.

Field trips are permitted under the current guidance, but may be limited. Each field trip will be reviewed for Covid mitigation and safety strategies prior to being approved.

Students will wear masks on the bus at all times. Seats will be assigned, and windows will be opened to allow for greater ventilation.

The District will continue to share updates throughout the year on COVID guidelines for schools, for the most current information visit: www.issaquah.wednet.edu/covid In addition, your school will share information through enews as the year progresses.

Most classes available to 6th grade students consist of only 6th grade students. These include language arts, social studies, PE, and most elective classes. We do offer some classes that will consist of both 6th and 7th graders. These are typically advanced math and science courses. In classes that have both 6th and 7th grade students attending, we will make every effort to separate 6th and 7th graders within the classroom. We will continue to maintain social distancing for all students as required by the guidance from Public Health of Seattle and King County.

To start the year, students will not be accessing hallway lockers in order to reduce the likelihood of close contacts during passing time. Additionally, 6th grader students will not be accessing the locker room for PE and will not be changing for PE classes. Student will meet their teacher in the proper location (gym) and participate in 6th grade only PE.

Upon arrival to school, 6th grade students will be either allowed into their classrooms or if they must wait to access their classroom, they will be provided a designate space to wait prior to being sent to their classrooms.

Additionally, 6th grade students will either be in a 6th grade only lunch or will be separated from other grades during lunch. They will have a designated 6th grade outdoor eating location.

We will continue to monitor and adjust as the school year progresses.