We Can All Help Reduce COVID-19 in the KSD Community and Our Schools
During April, our students had the opportunity, based upon family choice, to either return to in-person learning or to remain in remote learning only through the end of the school year. During the first few weeks back in the buildings, our families reported a total of 88 student cases of covid-19 across all grades and within 30 of our 42 schools. This includes students in both hybrid and remote learning and athletic activities. We had our first classroom closure within two weeks of reopening our buildings for in-person learning due to COVID-19. Since students first returned to campus for athletics in mid-February through the first of May, we have had 128 student cases and 28 staff cases of COVID-19 reported.
Knowing and reviewing this data is crucial for several reasons. First, this information reminds us that even with the adherence to safety measures where we live, work, learn and play, the COVID-19 virus is still very active in our community. Second, while we recognize the efforts of our building leaders and staff, who continue working diligently to keep our schools safe. our school nurses and health technicians, who engage in the many hours of contact tracing and communication behind each positive case, the virus is actively present in our school community. The hybrid learning model continues to present daily opportunities for collaboration, communication, leadership, and partnership. However, we must all do our part to remain vigilant while the COVID-19 virus continues to be a factor in our lives. It is up to each of us to follow the health and safety protocols and protect ourselves and each other, and work together to keep classrooms and schools open.
Overall, our students and staff have done an outstanding job with our health and safety protocols since our school buildings reopened for limited in-person learning, athletics, and activities. While the health and safety measures are new for students and can be challenging, we are all working together to adapt to them. We thank our students, families, and staff for adhering to and reinforcing the importance of following our safety mitigation protocols each day in school, on the field, and on the bus.
As a reminder, the key protocols we have implemented in all of our buildings include but are not limited to:
- All students and staff members are required to wear masks or face coverings unless they have a documented medical reason not to. Our teachers provide time for socially distanced "mask breaks" as schedules allow. KSD staff work with students and families to offer consistent reminders to students who may struggle with keeping their masks on during in-person learning.
- We have spaced out desks in classrooms to keep students separated whenever possible. Students should also avoid close contact with others whenever possible.
- To avoid large groups of students gathering in one place, we have adjusted the way students move between classrooms and other spaces in our schools.
- Students and staff are frequently reminded about the importance of proper handwashing. We have also placed hand sanitizer units throughout our buildings.
- All students and staff should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and complete the wellness form daily when entering the building. If a student or staff member feels sick, they should stay home from school, consult a healthcare professional right away, and notify the school office.
We ask that all students carefully follow these procedures during the school day and when riding the bus to and from school. More information about our health and safety protocols is on our website.
Seattle & King County Public Health reminds us that COVID-19 spreads through the air and often from people who do not appear to be ill or before they develop symptoms. And that it takes a combination of actions to protect ourselves, our families, friends, co-workers, and community from the increasing COVID-19 threat:
- limit activities with unvaccinated people from outside your home
- avoid crowded indoor spaces
- pay attention to improving ventilation in workplaces, businesses, and homes, including by opening doors and windows
- stay home from work and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to someone who has tested positive
- wear masks when we are in public or at work or school
For the time being, until enough of us are vaccinated, we need to continue to take COVID-19 prevention and precautions seriously.
Our personal, daily choices can help mitigate COVID-19 in schools, buses, etc because what you do at home and in other spaces has a direct impact on whether COVID-19 is more likely to be introduced into school settings. Let’s all commit together to do our part to keep our kids safe in school!