Frequently Asked Questions

常見的問題– COVID-19 /冠狀病毒

Preguntas más frecuentes - COVID-19 / Coronavirus

This page will be updated as new information becomes available. Please continue to check back for updates. New information will also continue to be communicated via the District and School E-News.


How should I stay informed?

This is a dynamic situation. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Seattle & King County website and sign up for email alerts from their agency. The District continues to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health Seattle & King County in our response to COVID-19, including decisions to close schools and whether students or staff would need to be quarantined. As soon as new information becomes available, we will let you know through our usual emergency communications channels: E-News by email, text messages, social media, and updates to school and District websites.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Seattle & King County website and sign up for email alerts from their agency.

Where can I find a comprehensive list of all ISD announcements about Coronavirus?

A comprehensive list of all announcements sent through Issaquah School District E-News are available on the ISD's E-news Archive webpage.

What resources are available for talking to kids about COVID-19?

What can I do to protect myself and my family and prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Coronaviruses, including COVID-19, spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) via coughing or sneezing. It may also spread by touching a surface or object with the virus on it. The same good health habits that prevent other viruses like the flu also prevent the spread of COVID-19 and decrease the risk of getting sick: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, with 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand), then throw tissue away and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Keep students home if they are running a temperature or they report not feeling well or appear weak or ill.
  • Consult your health care provider if you or your child has health conditions that put you at increased risk.

When should I seek medical advice if I suspect I or someone close to me has COVID-19?

While the number of cases is increasing, the vast majority of the illnesses around the world are mild, with fever and coughs. If you or a family member has symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular medical provider. Public Health recommends not going to the emergency room unless there is a critical need. Public Health also recommends seeking medical advice if you are over the age of 60 and have an underlying medical condition. If you believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, contact King County’s novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977.

What should I do if I hear or receive information that a school community member has tested positive for COVID-19?

The Issaquah School District is no longer collecting or sharing information about reported COVID-19 cases involving ISD students and staff to school communities. This decision was made to align with changes at Public Health Seattle & King County. Due to the increased number of cases, Public Health’s response is to focus on community education and support, and is no longer providing case support or contact investigations. Through our partnership with Public Health we will continue to provide up-to-date information about COVID-19 and refer health concerns to their health provider. Each person should stay informed and practice social distancing for the protection of themselves, their family, and the community.

What does the district do to clean schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19? 

Custodians and food service workers have been trained and are following procedures for cleaning and disinfecting with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectant with a claim for human coronaviruses. Our custodians are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner, and to clean up potentially infectious materials. A supervisory team is visiting all buildings to reaffirm the cleaning standards are being met and ensure they have protective gear.

Typically, this means daily sanitizing of surfaces and objects that are touched often:

  • Door handles, crash bars, and doorknobs
  • Phones and two-way radios
  • Computer keyboards, mice, and monitors
  • Hard surfaces such as desks and countertops
  • Entry windows
  • Office counters and surfaces
  • Handrails
  • Light switches
  • Sinks and drinking fountains
  • Dispensers
  • School buses
  • Anything else that is handled frequently by multiple people

Our custodians are working with the administration and staff at each building and providing the Department of Health recommended hydrogen peroxide disinfectant to all staff. The transportation department has also been provided the same recommended disinfectant for use on school buses.

Will online learning be available district-wide for all students?

At this time, the District will not be moving to an all online learning model. The ISD will support students who are out of school for extended absences due to a documented illness or quarantine and teachers will work with students and families regarding coursework in accordance with our attendance policies and procedures. Online opportunities are currently available for specific coursework and grade levels. However, replacing in-person classroom learning with online learning for all students in the District presents several regulatory, technological, and logistical challenges that cannot be solved on short notice. Please see below for more information. The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has provided guidance to districts advising they only move to an online learning model if they can meet at least eight specific criteria.

See OSPI's guidance on online learning in the highlighted portion of this document, under "Distance/online learning."

What steps are being taken by the District to implement online learning in the future?

The ISD recognizes there is a community desire for us to consider alternative or online learning during school closures. This is a topic that requires due diligence and further research on the part of the ISD. The District is having discussions about the effectiveness of delivering learning online, discussions with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) regarding the ability of the state system to to deliver education online, and discussions with our labor unions about the support necessary to implement this system for students— as well as support for staff who would not be working due to student absences. Additionally, there are a number of items that involve working with colleges and universities regarding credit equivalents and evaluating online learning options to ensure we are delivering the sound, reasonable, and reliable learning system that our community would expect.

An initial list of considerations for research and discussion includes:

  • Receiving approval from OSPI for Alternative Learning Experiences.
  • Assurances that ALL students would have equitable access to the learning material and technology involved—including needs of students without internet access, or who share technology at home are addressed.
  • Assurances that the K12 Network can support the increased traffic.
  • Assurances to OSPI that instructional time for online learning activities are equivalent to in-person classroom time.
  • Having supports integrated into online learning for students with specific learning needs—such as students learning English or students with disabilities. Online activities must support these students in a manner equivalent to the services provided in the school environment.
  • Having all staff trained in using an online learning management system and ensuring their access to adequate internet speeds.
  • A system to track attendance/presence for staff and students.
  • Assured system security for personal staff and student information. The ISD suffered a malware attack in December 2019. We need to determine what additional security precautions need to be put in place.

As the ISD considers all of these items, administrative staff is in contact with other Districts that are farther along with the implementation of an online learning system to learn how they have addressed these issues as well as others.

How will student testing be affected?

According to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), all state testing for the 2019-20 school year will be canceled. This includes the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS), the Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement (WA-AIM), and WIDA Alternate ACCESS for English learners.

How is the District addressing racial bias?

We are aware of reports that some of our Asian students have been targeted and discriminated against in connection to COVID-19. This is unacceptable and contrary to our values of racial equity and social justice. In the Issaquah School District, we are committed to all schools being welcoming, safe, and inclusive, and we do not tolerate hate speech or acts of discrimination. Help us prevent discrimination or stigmatization by sharing accurate information. COVID-19 infection is not connected to any race, ethnicity, or nationality. Misinformation can create fear and hostility that harms people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy. Public Health Seattle & King County has provided resources to address and prevent discrimination. Please do not hesitate to contact your school principal or use the Report Unsafe Behavior link on all school websites if you experience discrimination.

What information is available in other languages?

Should I or my student wear a mask?

Public Health agencies currently do not recommend that people wear masks when they are in public. Additionally, scientists are not sure whether wearing a mask in public actually keeps healthy people from getting sick. It is more important for people who are sick to wear a mask in a healthcare setting (such as a waiting room) to avoid exposing other people when they cough or sneeze. As COVID-19 has spread, the supply of masks has been depleted, and it’s important to make masks available to those health care workers most directly working with the disease.

In some parts of the world, mask use when sick is customary. People also wear masks for a variety of reasons, including avoiding pollen and air pollution, as a courtesy to others when they have the common cold, and for other cultural and even social reasons. Please do not assume that someone wearing a mask has COVID-19.


Frequently Asked Questions Prior to State Closure of Schools

When should I keep my child home from school?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that if your child gets flu-like symptoms without a fever, keep him or her at home to lower the chances of spreading the illness to others. Additionally, if your child does have a fever, keep him or her home for at least 72 hours after the fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen. This will help ensure that the fever is truly gone and that your child is past the point of being contagious. Please visit the CDC Website for more information.

What if my child misses several days of school due to illness?

As with the flu or other illness resulting in an extended absence, should your child become ill you can contact your student’s school to excuse the absence. Teachers will work with students and families to make up the coursework according to our attendance policies and procedures. 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. 

What instructional support opportunities are available if my child is ill or if I choose to keep them home as a precaution?

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. 

Elementary Students and Families:

  • Access your teachers’ websites
  • Read daily, access Lexia if you have an account
  • Utilize the online math resources available to you (Zearn, Eureka, Cleaver, etc.)
  • Keep writing skills sharp by crafting letters, emails and stories
  • Monitor Skyward/Family Access

Secondary Students and Families:

  • Access your teachers’ websites
  • Continue to read any assigned text (i.e. fiction or non-fiction from your English class) or materials (i.e. any on-line textbook) available at that website
  • Submit any work you can complete from home via email or other designated turn in tool (i.e. turnitin.com)
  • Communicate with your teachers and counselor if you need to be out for more than a few days and seek guidance on how best to stay engaged in that subject area
  • Monitor Skyward/Family Access

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.

Can my student bring hand sanitizers or disinfectants to school?

We appreciate the desire of our community to help provide supplies to assist in this process. It is acceptable to send your child with a hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60% alcohol. However, we ask that students NOT bring in household disinfectants (either spray or wipes) and remember that people have sensitivities to strong smells.  

Should children returning from China (or other countries identified by CDC) stay home from school for 14 days?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website with traveler information states that American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families who have been in China in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States, but will be redirected to one of 11 airports to undergo health screening. Depending on their health and travel history, they will have some level of restrictions on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China. With regard to other countries, please visit the CDC website for the most up to date information.

Is the Issaquah School District planning to close schools to stop the spread of the virus?

Following an 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, March 13. See more information in this message from the Superintendent.

Under what circumstance would the Issaquah School District close schools?

If a case of COVID-19 is found in an Issaquah School District school, we will follow the direction of Public Health Seattle & King County, which may include closing schools and cancelling activities. We are in continuous contact with the Health Department so we can respond quickly to their recommendations, guidance, and direction. It is likely, at a minimum, that the District would close any affected school to provide time for focused cleaning that includes floor scrubbing, EPA-approved disinfectants, and disinfecting of hard surfaces students may contact.

Why Public Health is not asking schools to close.

Public Health Seattle & King County is not currently recommending that schools proactively close unless they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member or student.

This guidance may have been confusing for some families and schools because schools bring together large groups of children. School closures have significant negative impacts on our community. We will be providing additional information to schools about how to stay open safely. The considerations we have taken in our decision not to currently recommend routine closure at schools include:

  • Children are not known to get seriously ill from COVID-19.
  • Closing schools may not be effective because some children may congregate anyway, at other locations.
  • Many parents, such as healthcare workers, need to be at work. If these critical workers stay home with children, it causes significant impacts on the healthcare system and other institutions that are essential for our community to function.
  • If schools close, some children might have to stay home with alternative caregivers, such as elders, who are more vulnerable.
  • We don't know how effective children are in spreading this disease.

Some children and staff may be at higher risk for severe illness because of underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system. Public Health advises that those people consult with their healthcare provider to decide the best course of action.

Public Health also respects each individual school's decisions about closures, postponement of activities, or other social distancing measures – as each school knows the needs of their community best.

If schools are closed how will the instructional time be made up?

The ISD is working closely with Public Health Seattle and King County Health, OSPI, and partner agencies with regard to COVID-19. We are following all of their recommendations and are hopeful that we won’t need to close all schools. However, should we find ourselves in that situation; we will explore all opportunities for waivers with OSPI, but may need to add the missed days to the end of the school year if we do not qualify for those waivers.

Are activities or field trips canceled?

The following outside events and activities have been canceled or postponed:

  • Facilities use by outside groups
  • Field trips
  • Athletic practices and games, concerts, dances, plays and information events
  • Non-essential travel by ISD staff
  • Volunteer work in schools

See this notice for more information about these measures.