Elementary School

We are excited to welcome students back to school, in-person, 5 days a week! This section is to provide families with important information common to all elementary schools.

Our staff is committed to providing high-quality instruction and enrichment opportunities for all students, while also maintaining health protocols for students and staff. The elementary day will have the same start/stop times four days a week and an early release on Wednesdays. Schools have published their bell schedules on their websites. 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

What students and families will find to be the same as they have experienced in the past is a warm welcoming teacher who is eager to greet students each day, develop relationships, promote community building and social emotional learning and provide quality instruction.

Transported to school via bus, riding/walking, or parent drop-off, students will arrive at school and go to their classroom. They will have instructional blocks in core content areas and specialist classes on a rotating basis (music, PE, and library). Students will enjoy recess and a snack break with peers. The Food Services Department is excited to serve lunches at no cost to students. Students will be taught to follow COVID procedures during the school day so that they are a seamless part of their routines. More details about specific activities are provided below.

Group projects will not be prohibited, but all COVID mitigation plans must be followed including physical distancing, therefore staff will follow guidelines when planning for when students work together. 

Yes, small group academic lessons can occur provided masks are worn and physical distancing is maintained.

The District will enforce the State mandate that students, staff, volunteers, and visitors must wear cloth face coverings at school when indoors, unless specifically exempt.

Elementary aged students will wear masks indoors and on the bus.

When outdoors, a mask break for snack time and/or recess is allowed. Masks are generally not required outdoors; however, masks are strongly recommended when outdoors in crowded spaces. A space might be considered crowded when individuals are unable to maintain proper physical distancing. This may include some big toys and covered play shed spaces.

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. 

Daily health attestation screenings are no longer required by DOH and will not be used in the coming school year. Everyone should continue to monitor for symptoms and follow the protocols included in the 2021-22 school year guidance.

General classroom configurations will be designed to meet the recommended physical distancing while students are at their desks to the degree possible that allows for full-time, in person learning for all students. Students and staff will maximize greater physical distancing in common areas such as, lunchroom, halls, pick up/drop off points, etc.

Students will line up in the classroom using social distancing cues such a dots on the floor. When moving through the halls social distancing will be practiced. Students will be in the halls for a limited amount of time while walking with their class from one place to another. 

ISD will follow the guidance provided by the Washington State Department of Health issued on July 28, 2021. Staff will maximize the distance between students to the degree possible during lunchtime. This may include setting up additional eating spaces on the stage or outside, assigning distanced individual eating spots and walking paths. Students will wear masks at all times in the cafeteria except when eating at their designated location.

Students will wash hands in class prior to walking to lunch. Hand sanitizing stations will be available in the cafeteria as well. Recess will occur after lunch to best accommodate hand washing.

Distribution of food will take into account social distancing and be designed to minimize lines. Tables will be cleaned between meal times following all guidance about proper disinfectants and drying time.

Students will be spaced apart at the maximum distance possible that is feasible in the space. Additional spaces, such as the stage, will be used to maximize distance. Students will be given assigned seats which are staggered, so no students sit directly across from each other. Masks will be worn at all times when not eating. 

The goal for elementary lunch time is to provide a safe, comfortable, and supportive place for the students to eat. All students will have an assigned seat and social distancing will be practiced in the cafeteria. Masks will be worn at all times when not seated and actively eating. Students will learn lunchtime routines, like how to ask for help with their milk or other lunch items and how to return their tray under adequate adult supervision. 

In addition to the safety procedures set up inside, elementary schools are working to identify an outdoor eating space. Outdoor eating space will vary between schools due to different building configurations, available supervision, lunch schedules, etc. Individual schools will explain lunch procedures to families. Because recess occurs at the same time as lunch, undercover play areas will be used for recess zones. Therefore, outdoor eating will initially be weather dependent and may require sitting on the ground depending on the facility. Planning for outdoor eating is evolving and underway and schools will communicate their individual plans with the families. 

Yes, each school will explain the details about lunch to families. Planning for lunch is ongoing as school staff are planning and adapting to evolving guidance with the best efforts to design lunch procedures that keep students safe. 

Hand sanitizing stations can be accessed when entering and exiting the lunch area as well as when entering and exiting the classroom.

Snack breaks will take place during recess with handwashing protocols followed in the classroom prior to going to recess. Snack break will occur outside, not in the classroom, as part of the layered COVID mitigation plan. This does not preclude a teacher from occasionally providing outdoor snack break.

Students will be grouped into cohorts and asked to play in designated zones during recess. The number of students in cohorts may include two or more classes, this allows students to occasionally play with friends who are not in their class and to increase their social circle.

Cohorts may rotate through designated zones according to a daily or weekly schedule. Cohorts and zones are necessary given that elementary students are not yet vaccinated and to help with contact tracing if necessary. As the year progresses, we hope to be able to further open recess as COVID cases in our community decrease.

Students will not be required to wear masks during outdoor recess when physical distancing can be maximized. Masks will be required when students are unable to maintain six feet of distance from each other, such as in the big toy and undercover areas.

Students will be able to enjoy specialist classes with their teachers in the gym, music room or library. Most of these spaces are quite large and allow for maximized social distancing. Masks will be worn at all times. Masks that follow current health guidelines will be provided to students when singing takes place in music class. Weather permitting, classes may be held outside.

Yes, students will visit the library with their class once a week. All health and safety guidelines will be followed.

Students will have music class twice a week. Masks will be worn at all times, and when singing is part of the lesson students will be given a 3-layer medical mask to wear as the Washington State Department of Health guidance suggests on page 16. 

District and school sponsored in-person afterschool clubs are not being held for elementary students at this time. As the year progresses and COVID guidance evolves, offering after-school or extra-curricular activities will be re-evaluated. 

Field trips are not being held for elementary students at this time. As the year progresses and COVID guidance evolves, offering field trips will be re-evaluated. 

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, and meeting teachers in person. 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. 

Meet the Teacher is about our younger students getting a chance to meet their teacher. While we understand that families must drive their younger students to these events, the primary purpose is for our younger learners to see their classroom space and meet their teacher before the first day of school. Families will see their student’s teacher outdoors before the teacher guides their class into the building and to their new classroom. 

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 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 elementary 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. 

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. 

*Maple Hills Elementary which is under construction will have temporary ventilation systems until the permanent HVC system is installed. The temporary ventilation system meets the ventilation recommendations. In addition, individual air filtration systems with a HEPA filters will be placed in each classroom.

Many procedures are being implemented in the elementary schools 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.

People who receive positive COVID tests will be asked to quarantine for a period of time as indicated in the flow chart. If one student in an elementary class gets COVID-19, we will notify the entire class and let the family know if the student was a close contact. Other students who are deemed to be close contacts may also be required to quarantine for a designated time according to the flow chart and current guidance.

Currently, we will follow the pre-COVID practices to address excused illness-related absences. Students can receive assignments through the teacher’s Clever and/or See Saw page and/or material sent home. In the event of a whole class quarantine students will learn at home using appropriate technology. Technology will be checked out to students from the building on a short term, individual need basis. Technology will be returned once the quarantine is over.

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

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.

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.