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School Reopening Q&A from Dr. Farris and OSPI
WPSD Superintendent
Tuesday, July 07, 2020

 July 7, 2020

Thank YOU TO THE MANY staff, students and community members who responded to our district’s recent survey regarding Spring school closure, online learning and anticipated fall reopening possibilities.

We are reviewing survey results and comments, and the district will be working with select staff and community members to assess the data and identify upcoming family needs/priorities. Together, a model for the 2020-2021 White Pass school year will be established. We anticipate being able to share the 2020-2021 Teaching and Learning Model later this month allowing us all to move forward towards fall reopening.

We look forward to seeing White Pass students this fall either in-person, online, or in a hybrid model and we are committed to serving our community with care and excellence. So, within the guidelines and boundaries set before us through this pandemic environment, we endeavor to continue to provide a quality education for all in a safe and challenging environment.

Dr. Paul Farris

White Pass Superintendent

pfarris@whitepass.k12.wa.us

This remainder of this communication is a Q & A gleaned from the WA State Office of Superintendent guideline directive and is intended to answer common questions our community may have related to schooling at White Pass as we reopen in the fall of 2020.

https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/workgroups/Reopening%20Washington%20Schools%202020%20Planning%20Guide.pdf

The guidelines for reopening our schools are required to align with these directives from both the WA State Department of Health (DOH) and Labor & Industries (DOL).

Screening

  • Do all students and staff members need to be screened for illness each day?
    • Yes. Both DOH and L&I require students and staff to receive a health screening before entering a school.
  • Are temperature checks a required element of screening?
    • Yes.
  • Are face coverings required to be worn at school by students and staff?
    • Yes. DOH requires everyone in a school building or on a school bus to wear a face covering, with specific exemptions identified in the guidance.
  • Can students use a face shield instead of a cloth face covering?
    • Yes. Cloth face coverings have a superior ability to capture more droplets from speaking, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • Is six feet of physical distancing required as part of a school reopening plan?
    • Yes. Districts must arrange their physical spaces to accommodate six feet of distanceBoth DOH and L&I recognize that some tasks and movements will require proximities closer than six feet, including passing in the hallway or a teacher’s moving around in the classroom.
  • Are face coverings required on buses?
    • Yes. Like classrooms and common spaces in school buildings, students, drivers, and aides must wear face coverings while on the bus.
  • If students are wearing face coverings on buses, can the bus be at normal capacity?
    • Yes. However, multiple additional health mitigation strategies such as health screening, face coverings, hand hygiene, frequent cleaning, and maximum air circulation are necessary when riders cannot follow the six-foot social distancing rule on buses.
  • Are schools required to bring all students back to campus?
    • No. The goal is to get our schools open for face-to-face, in-person instruction for as many students as we can safely. However, the requirements to protect health and safety, specifically the six-foot rule, will make it difficult for many districts to accommodate all students in the traditional school day at the same time. 
  • In the 2020–21 school year, will districts be required to take attendance?
    • Yes. Districts will be required to take attendance and maintain those attendance records regardless of the model of instructional delivery. 
  • Is there specific guidance on what the cleaning expectations are for after school each day and for buses after each run?
    • Yes. Information on cleaning procedures, including links to the CDC’s recommended cleaning procedures.

Thank you for taking the time to read through these initial guidance highlights. You can read the full guidance here:

https://www.k12.wa.us/sites/default/files/public/workgroups/Reopening%20Washington%20Schools%202020%20Planning%20Guide.pdf