Information about new coronavirus

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Information about new coronavirus
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All OSD schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year; however, distance learning will continue.

 

While schools are closed, the Olympia School District has been working with community partners to ensure that a variety of services continue, including meal distribution, and childcare options most notably for children of health care workers and emergency responders. Meal distribution and childcare will continue during the state's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order as both are considered essential services.

 

 

The Olympia School District continues to monitor and communicate with local and state health officials regarding the new coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, and will continue to follow their professional guidance.

 

COVID-19 Useful Links:


 

The district has been communicating with families, staff and the community since early February about the expanding outbreak of respiratory illness worldwide caused by the new coronavirus. Below are copies of the communication, which include health tips and links to more information online. To view this page in other languages, go to the blue bar at the top of the website and click Language. Use the down arrow to scroll through the wide selection of languages offered.

 


 

All OSD schools will be closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year while distance learning continues.

 


 

Update April 6, 2020

 

Good afternoon OSD families,

 

As you may have heard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ordered today that all schools statewide remain closed, and that distance learning continues, through the remainder of this 2019-20 school year.

 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal joined Gov. Inslee for this afternoon’s announcement and emphasized that distance learning will continue during the closure.

 

This announcement will inform our continued efforts to create a more robust Distance Learning Plan, which was shared with families in a communication last Friday. We will provide updates on that plan along with answers to other questions like when our district’s last day of school will be, how graduation will occur, or how families can gather students’ personal belongings left in school buildings when they closed last month. We will provide an update by the end of this week.

 

For now, all Olympia school buildings will remain closed through the end of this school year.

 

Thank you.



 

Update April 3, 2020 

 

Hello OSD families,

I hope this message finds you well. I apologize for the length of this communication, but there is a lot to share. This pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we do life as a school district, as a nation and as a global community. We miss seeing our students every day in our schools and know it has been a difficult shift from having your child learning in our buildings to having them at home and learning remotely. We know that every family’s situation is different in managing this new reality. In addition to the health crisis, there is the economic impact of COVID-19 that is having dramatic impacts on households.

Schools have always been the anchor of communities, including and maybe especially so in Olympia. This is more apparent than ever. We know how hard it can be during an extended snow closure, and now with several weeks of an unexpected closure to schools facing us, we are all trying very hard to adjust. As has been mentioned in previous messages, thanks to the tremendous efforts of our Food Services team, we have a strong remote meal program in place. Likewise, while not complete, thanks to the work and determination of our Technology team, the vast majority of our students and staff have technology at their disposal.

And while there has been lots of hard work by teachers across the district in these first couple of weeks, we are now systematizing our strategies around remote learning opportunities for students.

As most are aware, last week we asked our teachers and staff to check in on student and family well-being and see how everyone is doing. At the same time, we wanted to establish communication pathways for future learning opportunities. This week we have asked teachers to build on that and help students establish routines and consistency while away from school.

We very much want to know which students and families have barriers, so you can really help in our effort to reach students by asking them to please check their email and other school communication tools to look for messages from their teachers, then please have them respond telling us that they received the communication. Many of our schools are also contacting families via Skyward Message Center. It is important to keep your contact information up-to-date in Skyward Family Access to stay connected.

While this outreach has been taking place, principals have been working with their teams of educators to develop a distance learning plan featuring consistent learning schedules and structures across all schools and grades. I want to share some of what students and families can expect going forward in the area of distance learning, as well as a few announcements.

Distance Learning Plan
Our more formalized distance learning plan, which begins on Monday, April 13, 2020, includes days and times when teachers will be expected to formally reach out to students and families to provide learning opportunities. While there will be some variance, all families can expect to learn about the specific days and times teachers will be formally available to respond to questions and provide feedback to learning. Learning opportunities will be based on previous concepts/content learned before schools closed, but can also explore new concepts, and/or can be enrichment opportunities all related to learning standards. While currently not required nor graded, the new assignments will allow continued learning opportunities for students. The distance learning schedules will look different based on the schools/grades, so schools will communicate this information directly with families.

We know that providing the supports and accommodations that some students need will be very difficult in a remote learning environment. We are making every effort to provide enhanced communication and to seek out creative ways to provide those supports and instructional adjustments as best we can and follow up with additional support as needed. As such, our Student Support staff is making distinct outreach to families receiving special services and English Language services.

High School Seniors
As mentioned in a district message to families last week, we know that high school students, particularly our seniors, have unique needs and worries due to course credits and other requirements for graduation. Our high schoolers are not alone. This is a national issue and educational systems will have to find creative ways to meet our students' needs so they can graduate or be promoted to the next grade level. Our staffs are already making contingency plans. However, there are some important state-level meetings next week that will inform our district plan in this area. We expect an announcement early next week on how the Governor’s “stay home” extension will impact the school year. Likewise, the State Board of Education is meeting on April 8 to decide how credit waivers will work for high school students. As soon as we learn more from the state about any potential changes to graduation requirements, we will get that information to families and staff. We are all in this together, and if you have not seen State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal’s message, it includes some special words for seniors. It is worth viewing.


 

Other Announcements:


  • Free Bagged Lunches and Breakfasts (services continue during Spring Break): The number of meal distribution sites for students and area youth continues to grow, and the grab-and-go bagged lunches, and breakfasts for the following day, will continue to be served over Spring Break (April 6-10). View meal distribution sites and details on the district website.
  • Childcare options for essential workers (services continue during Spring Break): Childcare services offered by our community partners will also continue over Spring Break. For details, visit the district website.
  • Free Internet options for families: We encourage families who still need Internet access to learn more about an Internet Essentials plan offered by Comcast. More information is on the Community Resources webpage on the district website.


The Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department has also asked area superintendents to remind youth about social distancing guidelines during Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. More information can be found on the TCPH website.

 

We are also aware that families are curious about our plans for some of the routine school functions that normally occur this time of year, such as registering new students. Some schools have already sent electronic registering information home and more will be coming from other district schools in the next week or two. We are also exploring alternative ways to hold elementary conferences that were postponed this week. So stay tuned for more information on that as well. Doing traditional school district work remotely is obviously a big shift for all of us. Just like in our brick and mortar schools, we are committed to continuous improvement in this endeavor as well.


Thank you, and continue to be safe.

Patrick



  

 

Update March 27, 2020

 

Good afternoon OSD families,

Today marks the end of the second week of mandatory school closures throughout Washington state. It has been a challenging couple of weeks for all of us. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as our district responds to the shifting landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of today, the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) continues to say the plan is for students to return to schools on April 27, 2020. At the same time, school districts have been told to be ready and make plans in case that changes.

As you may be aware, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal has provided guidance to school districts during the closure of schools. When schools first closed, that guidance focused more on meeting basic needs such as meal distribution, and childcare for essential workers. Some of the most recent guidance, including a March 23 OSPI bulletin, focuses more on instruction and educational services. That bulletin reads in part that OSPI “expects educational services for all students will begin by Monday, March 30.”

At a video conference yesterday, as reported today by KOMO News, Reykdal clarified that OSPI doesn’t want parents to think that online classes will begin on March 30, but wants them to expect some kind of outreach from their school district and teacher. "Our very specific language is you need to be prepared with educational services by Monday," Reykdal said. "That might be reaching out to families, that may be giving instructions that might be a package delivered to students — it’s an all over continuum."

It is affirming to see that the work we have already been doing in Olympia aligns well with OSPI’s guidance.

As we shared with families earlier this week, our district has developed a menu of online Supplemental Learning Resources to help families engage with their children to support learning.

 

We have also provided and continue to provide technology resources, including Chromebook computers and Wi-Fi hotspots, to families whose children need these resources to access the learning resources. Getting these devices in all of our students' hands is key to providing more equitable support. As of today, approximately 800 additional Chromebooks have been requested, and more than a third of those requests have already been filled. If you or someone you know needs this technology, please have them fill out a technology request form posted on our district website, or call our Technology Department at (360) 596-8530.

Other ways OSD has met the latest OSPI guidance includes:

 

  • Teachers started reaching out this week to families to check on the health and well-being of their students and create plans of support as needed. We want to ensure messages are reaching families, so the more you can respond to teachers when contacted, it will help with communication moving forward.
  • Teachers have started the process of helping students establish routines and consistency while away from school.
  • Students have access to learning opportunities, which are based on state standards, and teachers can use district technology to provide students feedback to continue learning and growing. While not required nor graded, we know students can benefit greatly from having continued practice and learning opportunities. We want our students to continue engaging with the important skills and concepts they have been learning all year.  

 

We are in the first few days of a transformational change to our education system. It may take a little while, but moving forward, we will work to make these learning opportunities more robust and uniform across schools.

We know that high school students, particularly our seniors, have unique needs due to course credits and other requirements for graduation. We will do everything necessary to ensure our seniors graduate. There are some important state level meetings coming up that will inform our district plan in this area. As soon as we learn more from the state about any potential changes to graduation requirements, we will get that information to families and staff.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email communications@osd.wednet.edu or call the school district office at (360) 596-6100. The district office, like our schools and outdoor facilities, is closed through April 24, 2020, or until further notice. We are checking messages daily.

Thank you, and please continue to take care of yourselves and your families.


 

 

Update March 23, 2020

 

Hello OSD families,

 

Late this afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee ordered Washingtonians to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” for a minimum of two weeks as the state tries to slow the growing spread of COVID-19. Gov. Inslee ordered all Washington residents to stay at home except for crucial activities like buying groceries, seeking medical care or going to work at essential businesses.

 

While he also encouraged people to continue to exercise, including walking, biking or gardening, he cautioned against participating in any activities that are contrary to social distancing directives.

 

Given this new order, effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, we will close all OSD outdoor facilities, including fields, tracks, tennis courts, batting cages, playgrounds and other areas, to the public.

 

While we understand many of you enjoy using our district’s outdoor facilities, closing these areas supports directives calling for people to distance themselves from others and avoid contact with shared surface areas. Many cities and counties have already taken similar measures with their outdoor parks and play areas as a response to COVID-19.

 

As Gov. Inslee said during his televised announcement, “the less time we spend in public, the more lives we will save.”

 

Thank you for your understanding as we cooperate with state directives to help people stay healthy.



 

 

Update March 20, 2020

 

Good evening OSD families,

It's hard to believe only one week has passed since we announced the closure of our schools for six weeks (through April 24, 2020, or until further notice), due to COVID-19. Things certainly have changed significantly in the past seven days given the latest local, national and global social distancing directives.

As we move into the weekend, we want to share the following updates:

Technology Requests for Accessing Supplemental Learning Resources
In communications to families earlier this week, we announced that we have compiled a menu of supplemental learning resources that are posted online for students and families to access at home during the time schools are closed in Olympia. These are not intended to be a substitute for our normal instructional services. The activities that accompany these resources, which will continue to be expanded, are not required and will not be graded.

We also shared that we are taking steps to ensure that all students pre-K-12 who need a Chromebook (computer device) or Wi-Fi hotspot will have one, if needed, to access those resources. We shared a link on our district website and on the supplemental learning resources page to a form families can fill out to request technology equipment. Our Technology Department has since received hundreds of requests for Chromebooks and/or Wi-Fi hot spots. Staff is working hard to fill those requests as quickly as possible. Beginning next week, staff will be contacting families that filled out the form or called the school district office with a request for equipment. If you have not filled out a form nor called and need either a Chromebook or a Wi-Fi hotspot to access online resources, please do so on the district website. We are also working on ways to get the technology request form to families without Wi-Fi. If you know of any families that do not have Wi-Fi, please have them call our Technology Department. We have set up a dedicated phone line for these requests: (360) 596-8530. Messages are checked daily.

 

Meal Distribution

We continue to serve meals daily on weekdays during the time schools are closed. Starting Monday, March 23, there will be two new community meal distribution sites for families to receive a grab-and-go sack lunch and breakfast for the following day (Central Park Villa and The Park at Cooper Point Apartments). Please also note that two of the original community distribution sites have been discontinued due to low turnout (Skateland Skate Center and McLane Fire Station #94). The list of community distribution sites are in addition to lunches and breakfast being handed out at all of our elementary schools, Olympia Regional Learning Academy and Jefferson Middle School. For a complete listing of the most current meal distribution sites, including an interactive map to click on sites and see the address and directions to those sites, visit the district website.

Childcare
We also continue to work with our community partners to provide a space in some of our schools for childcare, particularly for families in need, including first responders and medical workers who have no other childcare options. The list of childcare offerings is updated regularly. For the latest update, including one posted today (Boys and Girls Club has suspended childcare at Jefferson Middle School next week, March 23-27), please visit the district website.

Olympia School Board Meeting Online Monday, March 23, 2020
The Olympia School District Board of Directors will hold a regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020. In light of the COVID-19 situation and social distancing, the board will be conducting the meeting online.

Details about how to join the Olympia School Board meeting by video or phone conferencing are posted on the district website.

We know these are challenging times, and we thank you for your continued understanding. We hope everyone is able to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine forecast this weekend. As always, you can find resources about COVID-19, including information about the new coronavirus, health tips and how to cope with stress, on the district website.

Thank you.


 

 

Update March 18, 2020  

 

Good evening families,

We are writing today to share that the Olympia School District has posted on the website some supplemental learning resources for students and families to access at home while schools are closed.

The learning resources posted on our website today are provided to help keep students’ minds engaged, provide options for inquiry and discovery topics, and allow students to practice skills. These resources are not intended to be a substitute for our normal instructional services. The activities that accompany these resources are not required and will not be graded. While we work toward expanding these resources for all students, at the same time, we have to ensure that federal and state laws around educational equal access are met for all students.

We are also taking steps to ensure that all students K-12 who need a Chromebook (computer device) or Wi-Fi hotspot will have one to access the resources. More information about the supplemental learning resources, as well as a link to a form to request a Chrombook or Wi-Fi hotspot, are posted on the district website. If you know of a family who needs Wi-Fi access, please have them call our main district office reception phone line at (360) 596-6100. We are checking messages daily.

Answers to other academic questions, such as whether school will end on time and whether seniors will graduate on time, have been added to our frequently asked questions on the district website.

Again, while this is our first and current offering of supplemental learning resources, as efforts to ensure technology accessibility for students are successful, we will seek out ways to expand and enrich options for students. Our teachers and other educational staff are eager to serve our students and families during this unprecedented closure. Information on their role in our learning options will be coming very soon, but we wanted to share these initial resources now.

In addition to our dedicated educators, many community members have also offered assistance as we respond to the needs of students and families during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We so appreciate everyone for reaching out, and we will be communicating opportunities as they arise.

In the meantime, do take good care of yourselves and your families. 

 


 

 

Update March 16, 2020  

 

In line with the social distancing directives from both Gov. Jay Inslee and federal health officials, the Knox 111 Administrative Center will close to the public for two weeks, effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17. The District Office will remain closed through Tuesday, March 31, or until further notice. For now, plans are to reopen the district office on Wednesday, April 1. While the district office is closed, we will continue to check messages to the main receptionist phone (360) 596-6100, as well as emails sent to communications@osd.wednet.edu.

 

Please note that kindergarten and new student registration is suspended until administrative offices reopen on Wednesday, April 1, or until further notice. All student registration activities K-12 are suspended for now.


Thank you.

 

 


 

Update March 16, 2020 

 

Good afternoon OSD families,

We want to remind you that all OSD schools are closed tomorrow, Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 24, or until further notice.

While schools are closed, the Olympia School District has been working with community partners to ensure that a variety of services continue, including free meal distribution for students and other area youth. The details of when and where meals will be distributed starting tomorrow are posted on the website.

While social distancing is encouraged for all to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we have also posted information on the website about childcare options. Gov. Jay Inslee has encouraged school districts to partner with community agencies to offer childcare for those who need it most, including children of healthcare workers and emergency responders.

 


We will continue to provide you with regular updates in the coming days. Please continue to check your email, phone messages, district website and district social media platforms for the latest information.

Thank you.

 


 

 

Update March 13, 2020 


(Spanish) (Vietnamese 

 

Good afternoon families,

The following is the latest information about the coronavirus (COVID-19):

Districtwide School Closure
At this time, all OSD schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 24, 2020. This is the same six-week time frame that Gov. Jay Inslee has directed schools to close in King, Snohomish and Pierce County counties. If there are any changes to this timeline, we will notify you as quickly as possible.

Before- and after-school activities canceled
We will not be offering any before- or after-school activities or events during the school closure. All athletic and other extra-curricular practices are also canceled during the school closure.

Plans for serving meals
Grab-and-Go meals (lunch and a breakfast for the next day) will be available for pickup at all elementary schools in the Olympia School District, including the Olympia Regional Learning Academy. In addition, meals will be available at Jefferson Middle School. The district is exploring the possibility of distributing meals at parks or other non-school sites as needed. We will communicate these additional sites in the coming days via email and phone messages.


  • All meals are free. Children and youth will not be asked for their name, identification, enrollment status, Free and Reduced-Price meal designation, or school of attendance.
  • Each child or youth can pick up a free lunch for that day, and a free breakfast for the upcoming day.
  • Meals are available for pickup with limited interaction with other students and our Food Services staff. Schools will have the capacity to hand meals to students in cars, and to students who walk up in person.
  • Middle and high school students can go to their nearest elementary school or to Jefferson Middle School to obtain a meal. Students can go to any site. (In fact, students can go to a different site each day.)
  • All meals are to-go style (bagged lunches and breakfasts) and meet USDA nutritional guidelines.
  • Meals will be available on the first day of closure, Monday, March 16, through the end of the expected closure period. This includes Spring Break (April 6-10).
  • The district is coordinating with the Thurston County Food Bank to continue the Friday backpack meal program (a bag of shelf-stable food designed to feed students over the weekend). Those meals will be available to students at elementary schools only.
  • Our Food Services staff always closely follow the standards for handling food safely. They will take aggressive measures to ensure proper, sanitary food handling methods.
  • The district is looking for additional sites to distribute meals and will announce these quickly.

 

Plans for childcare
We are coordinating with our before- and after-school childcare partners to plan how childcare could be offered. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal has directed school districts to work with local partners about this, and we are. We will communicate new information regarding childcare in the coming days.

Plans for continued learning
We know there are many questions about if and how some form of schooling might continue during the school closure. We are working with staff and state officials on this issue. More information about this topic will be sent in the near future.

Why did the district decide to close Monday, March 16?
The decision to close our district was made with the same goal of state officials: to stave off the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing measures. Given that our district has already been impacted by a reportedly presumptive positive case of the illness, and given our close proximity to Pierce County (one of the counties where schools have been directed to close for six weeks), we believe it is a prudent and proactive decision to close.

Thank you for your understanding.

 

 


 

 

Update March 12, 2020  

 

Good evening OSD families and staff,

My apologies for the lateness of this message. This coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis continues to change rapidly, and today was no exception. As such, we want to provide you all with the latest information we have and share how we are responding in our school district, including one elementary school closure tomorrow, March 13, and the closure of all schools on Monday, March 16.

First, we want to share with everyone that we have reason to believe that an individual who has connections to Pioneer Elementary School has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. While the results of the test have not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), out of an abundance of caution we are closing Pioneer Elementary School tomorrow, Friday, March 13.

Additionally, Gov. Jay Inslee emphasized during a press conference this afternoon that schools statewide need to prepare contingency plans in the event of school closures. At the same time, he announced a mandatory six-week closure for the three largest counties north of us — King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal echoed the governor’s urgency in a statement posted on the agency website. “Schools and families throughout the rest of the state should be actively engaging in contingency planning now for potential closures in their region,” he said.

We recognize the sense of urgency in the governor’s direction today, and our district leadership continues to actively prepare for schools closing. We are reviewing creative ways to continue some services for students while at home. We have already developed a plan, for example, to make meals available to all students across our district, regardless of whether they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Given the rapid pace of changing events, we need to be prepared sooner rather than later for more school closures for an extended period. Tomorrow we are encouraging students to take home personal belongings they might need over an extended break. While we are not encouraging students to clean out their desks; they may wish to take home clothing items such as coats or other personal belongings they want or need.

Additionally, if your child has any medicine in the school health room, we encourage parents/guardians who can do so to pick those up by the end of the school day tomorrow. For those unable to pick up medicines in person tomorrow, we will work out another suitable arrangement.

In the midst of planning for school closures as directed by the governor, today we began implementing a series of social distancing measures in an attempt to slow transmission of this virus. While not an exhaustive list, last night we shared many of these measures in our communication to families. We have a few updates to that messaging tonight. The SAT/ACT testing that was scheduled this Saturday at Olympia High School, for example, has since been canceled. Additionally, many of you have asked about Camp Cispus, and we have added that to our list of cancelations at this time.

Below is the most up-do-date list of social distancing measures:

Olympia School District will cancel or postpone the following:

 

  • School field trips. This includes all local, state and out-of-state field trips. (Local field trips include Olympia Junior Programs (OJP) trips to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, as well as trips to Camp Cispus).
  • Athletic games, concerts, dances, theater performances, school information nights and other after-school or evening events. Additionally, outside groups that had been scheduled by the Performing Arts Initiative to perform at school assemblies have been canceled. Evening events include parent group meetings (e.g. PTAs and PTOs).
  • Facility Rentals (Buildings and Fields). This does not apply to before- or after-school childcare programs that rent our facilities, including YMCA and Boys and Girls Club.
  • Staff travel (school-related), both in-state and out-of-state, unless approved by a supervisor as essential.


The Olympia School District will continue the following:

 

  • Before- and after-school campus activities for students led by OSD staff, including club meetings, athletic practices and play practices.
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings.


As a reminder, health officials continue to stress that, individually, the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness include:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) advises if you have a fever and cough, stay home until your fever has been gone for 72 hours. DOH defines a fever as 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and above.

 

Our district will continue to provide you with regular updates.


I want to thank our staff and families for their efforts and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Patrick Murphy
Superintendent 




 

 

Update March 11, 2020 

 

Good evening OSD families,


As we continue to respond to the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, we want to inform you that the Olympia School District is enacting some new health and safety measures.

These new steps follow news today of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Thurston County, as well as the announcement that the World Health Organization has officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Additionally, in a press conference this morning, Gov. Jay Inslee announced new community strategies and social distancing plans to minimize COVID-19 exposure in counties north of us hit hardest by the virus at this time. The governor issued an emergency order prohibiting events of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to slow the spread of this virus. In addition, some school districts in those counties are closing.

While Thurston County was not one of the three counties mentioned as part of the governor’s order today, the Olympia School District’s Pandemic Contingency Plan identifies specific measures we can take to help slow the spread of health crises like COVID-19. Other Thurston County institutions, like South Puget Sound Community College, are already taking similar steps. These measures match the governor’s directives to take action to slow the rate of transmission. Measures identified in our district plan include reviewing scheduled field trips and travel, as well as reviewing all scheduled large gatherings (e.g. sports events, assemblies, dances, concerts and performances) and determining the need to reschedule or cancel those events.

In light of COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, beginning tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, and until further notice, the Olympia School District will cancel or postpone the following:

 

  • School field trips. This includes all local, state and out-of-state field trips. (Local field trips include Olympia Junior Programs (OJP) trips to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts).
  • Athletic games, concerts, dances, theater performances, school information nights and other after-school or evening events.
  • Facility Rentals (Buildings and Fields). This does not apply to before- or after-school childcare programs that rent our facilities, including YMCA and Boys and Girls Club.
  • Staff travel, both in-state and out-of-state, unless approved by a supervisor as essential. 

 

The Olympia School District will continue the following:

 

  • Before- and after-school campus activities for students led by OSD staff, including club meetings and athletic practices.
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings.
  • SAT/ACT testing scheduled this Saturday at Olympia High School.


Note: We are reviewing elementary parent-teacher conferences which begin on March 31 for elementary students. Alternative methods are being explored and will be shared in upcoming communications.

We recognize that these new safety measures will likely create hardships in our community. However, in placing restrictions on public access to our facilities, we reduce exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the number of people coming in and out of our buildings.

In today’s press conference, Gov. Inslee also directed school districts statewide to make contingency plans in the next several days in the event schools are directed to close. This planning has already started in our district and will continue moving forward.

As we enact these new safety measures, we also want to remind everyone that we are continuing to address the health and safety of our students, staff and community in other ways. This includes more intensive daily cleaning and disinfecting measures on our school buses, more intensive cleaning and disinfecting of our campuses that have had high absenteeism due to sickness, and disinfecting areas of our school campuses that serve medically fragile students. Additionally, new cleaning and sanitation procedures have been put into place at all school cafeterias.

As a reminder, health officials continue to stress that, individually, the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness include:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) advises if you have a fever and cough, stay home until your fever has been gone for 72 hours. DOH defines a fever as 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and above.


As we receive updates, we will continue to inform staff, families and the community. Please make sure your Skyward Family Access contact information is up-to-date so you will receive emails, phone calls or texts as necessary.

A reminder that you can get the latest information about COVID-19 on the Olympia School District website.



 

 

Update March 6, 2020

 

Good evening families,

As we head into the weekend, we wanted to provide some updates around the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We are continuing to work closely with state and local health officials, as well as many of our community partners.

At this time, health officials report no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Olympia School District. However, with the growing number of confirmed cases in the state, it is understandable that the level of concern would rise. To that end, we commit to communicate with you regularly with any updated information.

Update on how long to keep children home when sick

We did receive an update today from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) about the length of time to keep students home when sick.

DOH advises if you have a fever and cough, stay home until your fever has been gone for 72 hours. This is an increase from the previous recommendation of “24” hours of staying away from others.

Health Tips

Health officials continue to stress the importance of the following ways to protect the public’s health, and we have encouraged our employees to reinforce these measures in our schools:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.


That last bullet is a key one to emphasize. Students (and adults) often feel obligated to be at school (or work) even when they are sick. They fear falling behind, or think they can just “tough” it out. We need to change that mindset. Coming to school sick puts others at risk and often prolongs one’s sickness because the person is not getting the appropriate rest to recover. Please stay home if you are ill, and we will work with and support students (and staff) if there's any catching up to do.

School events and gatherings


Many of you have asked if there are changes to our school events or gatherings. We continue to take our direction from our health officials in matters like these. At this time, we have not been directed or advised by local or state officials to modify, cancel or postpone school, nor to alter plans for school events and gatherings.

Contingency Planning

We mentioned in previous communications that we are making preparations in the event the virus spreads to our area and, more specifically, our schools. We have been advised by The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) regarding any potential closures. Districts should understand the process the King and Snohomish county health departments are currently adhering to when determining whether schools should close. At this time, both county health departments have determined schools should not close until there is a student or staff member with a confirmed case of COVID-19. We are in contact now with our local health jurisdictions to understand any process they might take if and when the need arises. Yesterday, Public Health – Seattle & King County released clear guidance explaining why they are not recommending schools close at this time.

 

  • 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.


While we are exploring all possibilities, as stated in previous communications we have integrated more technology into our schools; however, we are not equipped currently to convert to an exclusively online learning system that would adequately serve all students.

If a district closes, OSPI does not recommend that it would 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:

 

  • Ensuring all students in the school or district will have equal access to the learning and required materials, including technology.
  • Ensuring the online learning system can effectively support the district’s different learning and teaching needs, including the ability to provide differentiated instruction as well as one-on-one support for students who need it. Regardless of where the learning is happening, supports identified on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be provided if the district is operating.
  • Ensuring the requirements of full-day kindergarten are met.
  • Ensuring students can access the assessments associated with dual credit coursework.
  • Providing training to staff, students, and parents and guardians on how the system works and what expectations the district has.
  • The ability to track the attendance of both students and staff.
  • Ensuring the systems in use are secure and will not allow for the release of protected student or staff information.
  • The ability to provide school meals. 


OSPI stated “it will likely make more sense (for districts) to cancel school and/or district services and make up or waive missed days than to deploy a distance learning model that can be accessed by some, but not all, of (our) students.”

Should school closures be necessary, OSPI expects districts to make every effort possible to make up any days and instructional hours lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including extending the school year to June 19 if necessary. OSPI will file an emergency rule to allow the agency to waive the days and instructional hours that districts won’t be able to make up after June 19. This rule will be in effect for the 2019–20 school year only.

More information is posted on the school district website

We know this is an evolving situation and information can change fairly quickly. We try to keep up-to-date information on our website. Please visit the Olympia School District website for a list of frequently asked questions, as well as several information handouts regarding COVID-19. An updated version of our district's Pandemic Contingency Plan is also posted on the district website. There are also links to the DOH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites, as well as to an OSPI parent guide.

DOH also has a call center open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week at 1-800-525-0127.

Thank you.


 

Update March 2, 2020


Good afternoon OSD families,

Since we last communicated with you on Friday, there have been a number of developments statewide regarding the new coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19. As we stated on Friday, we continue to monitor and communicate with local and state health officials regarding the new coronavirus and follow their professional guidance.

 

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to report today that the immediate risk to the general public statewide is low, and to date, we have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to us in the Olympia School District. We recognize this is an evolving situation, and we will continue to communicate with staff and families if the situation changes.

We updated our Olympia School District website today to include several documents about coronavirus you may find helpful. One is a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding COVID-19. This document, which will be continually updated, addresses questions being asked by students, staff, families and community members in our schools and support buildings. This list of questions will be updated regularly on our website.

We have also been asked about how our district is prepared should COVID-19 be declared a pandemic. Note: At this time, COVID-19 has not been declared a pandemic. An updated version of our district's Pandemic Contingency Plan is also posted on the district website.

Finally, we have shared on the website a handout, in English and Spanish, about Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks.

Thank you.

 


 

Update February 28, 2020


Good afternoon OSD families,

We want to follow up on an email sent earlier this month in which we provided families health tip reminders and information about a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus known as COVID-19.

Since our last communication with you, the virus has spread to a growing number of countries.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) continues to report that the immediate risk to the general public statewide is low. There also is no evidence at this time, health officials report, that the new coronavirus is spreading in Washington state.

We understand that its continued spread to new regions around the world and heightened media attention is concerning. We want to assure you that the Olympia School District is continuing to closely monitor this situation. The district is also communicating with state and local health officials, as well as the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and will continue to follow their professional guidance. As we learn new information, we will continue to provide you with updates.

Contingency planning underway

Our district is also engaging in contingency planning in the event the virus spreads to our area and, more specifically, our schools. As with other infectious diseases, we work closely with state and local health officials on how to respond to any potential illness outbreaks, including the possibility for school closures. We will continue this ongoing communication with health professionals and update our contingency plans as necessary.

As we mentioned in our earlier email communication, while the virus originated in China in December 2019, COVID-19 is not connected to race, ethnicity or nationality. In a letter sent this week to school superintendents, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal wrote, “Stigma will not help to fight the illness.” Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do collectively to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading.

Health tips

There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting and spreading any viral respiratory infections. We encourage you to share these tips with your family members, and our staff will be encouraged to reinforce them at school:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.


For your convenience, we have attached a one-page handout from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that illustrates how to stop the spread of germs.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the new coronavirus, visit the DOH Novel Coronavirus webpage or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 webpage.

DOH has also established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

You may also continue to check this OSD website for updated information.

Thank you for all you do for our students and community.



 

 

Below is a message emailed to all Olympia School District families and staff on February 4, 2020

 

As you may know, China is experiencing an expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. This new coronavirus (“2019 Novel Coronavirus),” emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It is spreading from person-to-person, and cases have been detected in a number of countries internationally and the United States.


The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reported today, February 4, that, “At this time, the immediate risk to the general public in Washington and the United States is considered to be low.” DOH added there is no evidence that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is spreading in Washington state at this time.


State health officials have also asked us to remind the community that “the risk of novel coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.”


We understand that this new coronavirus may be worrisome to our community. We want to assure you that our district will follow all health directives regarding this coronavirus. DOH is generally the lead agency in health situations such as this and provides direction to school districts.


To learn more about the new coronavirus, visit the DOH website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


DOH has also established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.


Health tips


Please also remember that cold and flu season is upon us. If your child is sick, please keep them at home.


There are steps people can take to reduce their risk of getting and spreading any viral respiratory infections. These steps, also listed on the DOH website, include:


  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill.