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December 17, 2020

Dear Kent School District Community,

Since we first announced our plan to begin this year in remote learning status, our goal has been to prioritize the reopening of our schools as safely and as quickly as possible. To safely reopen our schools for in-person learning, we all must adopt and diligently implement actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside our schools and out in our community.

Governor Jay Inslee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced yesterday, December 16, 2020, an update in the metrics recommended for local school district decisions for in-person learning. In-person learning should be phased under the updated guidance in counties where COVID cases are "moderate," which is now defined as fewer than 350 cases per 100,000 residents in 14 days.

This is a substantial change in the direction for returning to in-person learning. Still, these changes do not accelerate our planning for a safe reopening of our schools nor detract from our commitment to our students, staff, and families' health and safety. As of this letter's publication, COVID rates remain above the moderate range in King County and, specifically, in the City of Kent. The City of Kent has been at 500 cases or more per 100,000 residents per 2-week period, consistently since mid-October 2020. We cannot predict when the community levels will be safe with the new "moderate" levels to begin phasing in in-person instruction.

Our reopening plan will be finalized for all schools by February 1 so that we are prepared to safely reopen when we reach and sustain moderate COVID-19 activity in our community. We are revising our reopening plan to include this new guidance. We will continue moving forward with phasing in limited in-person services for Inclusive Education students in January as planned. Until we reach and sustain moderate COVID-19 activity in our community, students will remain in remote learning.

As we prepare to bring our students back into buildings for in-person learning, our focus will remain on student and staff safety. Decisions about the health and safety plans and reopening of our schools are being made in collaboration with district leaders and labor partners, and considering the input and recommendations of our Back to School Task Force partners.

We understand that this news, and the continued changing guidance, may be troubling for some. We know the impacts of COVID on our students, families, and staff differ significantly, but it continues to impact us all. We will continue to make data-informed decisions that prioritize the health and well-being of our students and staff.

Thank you for your attention to these updates and continued partnership during this health crisis. Please take time over winter break to rest and recharge. I know we will continue to get through this together. Have a safe and happy winter break.

In partnership and service,

Dr. Calvin J. Watts


**This information was updated on March 29, 2021, to remove a broken link from the Decision Tree being taken offline from the Department of Health website.