COVID-19 Strategies from the Field

Official operational guidance is provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction on their COVID-19 resource page. The notes below are largely gathered during WSSDA COVID-19 networking calls. These notes* are shared to help school boards across the state as they seek solutions to challenges posed by COVID-19. The strategies below may not be possible for all districts, and may be superseded by state or federal authority over time.

Strategies from the Field

Recorded 5/14/20 Recorded 5/11/20
  • WSSDA’s Federal Relations Network (FRN) is leading advocacy efforts focused on broadband access, targeted flexibility for IDEA, flexibility for use of title funds, and additional funding for nutrition programs. (Cindy McMullen, Central Valley/FRN Chair)
  • Some legislators are considering a delay in property tax collection. (Sandy Hayes, Northshore)
  • If a policy is proposed during a special session that did not have a related WSSDA legislative position already adopted, the WSSDA board and the Legislative Committee could choose to work together on the adoption of a resolution to advocate for or against a bill. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 8/6/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • OMPA requirements are extended until September 1. Districts are encouraged to read the language of the proclamation for clarification on in-person meeting options for districts whose counties are in phase three. – See the proclamation
Recorded 7/23/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA) OSPI requires school boards to formally adopt their district’s reopening plan, so WSSDA posted a model resolution for reopening schools on its website. The resolution is applicable regardless of what plan you adopt; online-only, in-person, or mixed. Recorded 7/16/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The executive directors of WSSDA, SBE and PESB are drafting a letter to the Legislature asking to get OPMA guidance linked to county phases. Together, we’re asking for an extension of the OPMA waiver/suspension through Dec. 31st 2020 but that it be aligned with county health phases.
Recorded 7/2/20 (Abigail Westbrook & Tim Garchow)
  • The current suspension/waiver was extended to July 7 at midnight. If the waiver lapses, you can still plan for a virtual board meeting as long as you also have a physical locations for citizens to give public comment and listen/watch the meeting.
Recorded 6/18/20
  • The current OPMA waiver has been extended, and we’re expecting a new proclamation very soon from the governor.
  • All public entities, including school boards, may not hold open public meetings in-person regardless of your county’s phase.
  • On public comment: Would like to remind everyone that although OPMA does not require public comment, it has First Amendment protections. We urge boards to return to some semblance of normalcy in how they handle public comment. While OPMA does not require public comment, we do have RCW 28A.320.015 which does require an opportunity for written and oral public comment under a wide variety of situations. Please see the May issue of Policy and Legal News for a detailed explanation.
Recorded 6/4/20
  • The OPMA proclamation no longer restricts actions to be “necessary and routine.” All other waivers/suspensions remain in place through June 17, 2020.  (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
Recorded 5/28/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • No known changes at this time to the OPMA proclamation extension.
Recorded 5/21/20
  • Superintendent Evaluation: Defined by RCW 28A.150.230(2)(a)
    • Superintendent's evaluation according to state law with the new contract finalized per law (for many districts this is June 30). We are factoring in the Covid-19 into the evaluation as an extenuating circumstance.  (Jeanie Schulze, Central Kitsap)
    • We developed adjusted goals for the year, taking COVID into account, so that we could still do a productive and meaningful evaluation. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
Recorded 5/18/20 
  • If a board is meeting only for an executive session, the board still needs to open a virtual open public meeting. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • We are initiating a Thoughtexchange to gather student, staff and community input. (Anne Moore, Issaquah)
  • Tumwater uses Thoughtexchange. We are also putting committees together on different topics such as, graduation, grading, etc.  The committees include students, staff, and community. (Melissa Beard, Tumwater)
  • Central Kitsap used Thoughtexhange with over 1,200 responses that will help the response from the District. (Jeanie Schulze, Central Kitsap)
  • Mercer Island School District is continuing to distribute short surveys to monitor progress in a variety of areas, and always welcomes comments and suggestions via correspondence through our group board@ email alias. The Board President or Superintendent respond to emails. Superintendent Donna Colosky has also started virtual fireside chats which focus on specific topics and include opportunity for Q & A between community members and subject matter experts. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
  • Our superintendent is hosting calls with parents and families. (Luckisha Phillips, Federal Way)
Recorded 5/11/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Effective May 11, 2020, public records requests must again be responded to within five days.
  • WSSDA recommends that agenda items for board meetings are identified as either routine and necessary or Covid-19 related.
Recorded 5/7/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • The OPMA proclamation 2028 has been extended through May 31st. The only exception relates to public records requests; the required five-day period to respond to public information requests will return starting May 11th.
  • As it relates to actions that are “necessary and routine”, necessary takes precedence over routine. If something is necessary and controversial but can no longer be deferred, necessary outweighs routine. In this case, the school board and superintendent should develop and make accessible the rationale that necessitates the action. Additionally, any items that have been deferred should be posted to show that board has been mindful of restrictions.
Recorded 5/4/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • In the case the Governor does not extend the OPMA proclamation tonight, a board could still hold a meeting virtually tomorrow with note on webpage that they will have a representative at the physical meeting site with a speaker phone. Establish the physical meeting space now as a backup.
  • School boards are currently prohibited from meeting in person. The OPMA rules may extend based on the Governor’s decisions this evening.
Recorded 4/27/20
  • While OPMA restrictions are in place, WSSDA recommends that board and superintendent teams include a statement on the posted agenda for each meeting which states that the items to be discussed and voted on are necessary and routine. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • A board’s executive session may be held by conference call while the board meeting remains open via zoom on mute. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/23/20
  • The Governor’s proclamation to allow school boards to have flexibility on OPMA has been extended through the termination of the state of emergency or May 4th. Therefore, actions taken by the board must be done virtually and deemed necessary and/or routine or related to COVID. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Board Meeting Strategies for Capturing Public Comment During Virtual Board Meetings
    • We are taking public comment via Google form, but are not reading them out loud during the public meeting. We are distributing them to the board members before the start of the meeting so the comments can be considered before voting on associated agenda items. (Lori Fast, Centralia)
    • We're doing the same, but posting the public comments with the recording, so that the public who views the meeting recording can also see the public comments. (Hilary Seidel, Olympia)
    • We have folks that want to join the meeting register ahead and they are asked if they want to speak and then we allow them to, per usual protocol. When the meeting actually starts, if folks haven't registered to speak, we are asking them to email us. And we are receiving emails during the school board meeting. (Nikki Lockwood, Spokane)
    • Comments are submitted in written form, are shared with the Board, and it is noted during the meeting that the response to the comment will be coming from the Superintendent. We do not read the comment during the meeting. (Jeanie Schultz, Central Kitsap)
    • We are taking public comments via email and then, time allowing, reading them during our meeting time, and including in the record of our meeting. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
    • North Thurston broadcasts via zoom meeting but we have public comment routed to the district email and those are then shared with the Board. (Melissa Hartley, North Thurston)
    • Individuals may send comments to a special email address created by the district two hours in advance of the meeting. (Judy Schwab, Mukilteo)
    • We livestream - so we know we have more viewers as we livestream the virtual meeting. (Siri Bliesner, Lake Washington)
    • Evergreen accepts public comment at any time through the Board's email address, where all messages are forwarded to Board members. Public is notified that written comments will be accepted for the meeting. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen)
Recorded 4/20/20
  • While the decision has not been made yet, changes to OPMA may extend beyond the Stay at Home order to maintain social distancing recommendations. We expect that this decision will be made prior to the April 24th expiration date of the current proclamation. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/16/20
  • Spokane Public Schools has created a sign in form for registering for Zoom school board meetings. Registrants get a link within an hour of the Zoom meeting. (Nikki Lockwood, Spokane)
  • Sequim School District is using Microsoft Teams; which is working great. (Jim Stoffer, Sequim)
  • Lake Washington School District board members are also using MSFT Teams not only for the Board meetings, but also for instruction to students as well as staff meetings. (Mark Stuart, Lake Washington)
  • In Olympia, board members are using a two-tiered system for Zoom - where the public can access the meeting as an attendee with no use of their microphone or video. That way the board can still make the link public. (Hilary Seidel, Olympia)
Recorded 4/6/20
  • Considerations for conducting virtual board meetings:
    • Board may put a flag up on the screen to start. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Board may conduct a flag salute and acknowledge tribal lands. (Cindy Kelly, Port Angeles)
    • Board may call for individual verbal votes (roll call) or use red/green cards. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Review settings in Zoom to prevent external, inappropriate interruptions, a.k.a. “Zoom Booming." (See article on updating Zoom settings.) (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Board members should log out of remote board meeting to enter a remote executive session. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
    • Mercer Island School District is meeting remotely. We vote by roll call, all non-essential business has been suspended. Meeting on Zoom, executive session is in Google Hangout. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
Recorded 3/30/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • There have been no further changes to OPMA (see notes from March 26).
Recorded 3/26/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Public needs to be able to listen to the virtual board meeting in real-time. The meeting cannot be recorded and posted in place of holding a live virtual meeting.
  • The public must be informed via any means possible, such as your website, social media, etc., of the changes to the board meeting requirements.
  • Board action must be either necessary or routine. “Necessary” means that the action must take place; “routine” means something that you have done before and would do typically. Something of a very controversial nature and can wait should be postponed so that the public is able to participate fully.
  • If the board goes into executive session, they can run another virtual meeting for just board members while the screen of the public virtual meeting is covered and muted for the public meeting space until members are able to return to the public meeting virtual space.
Recorded 3/25/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Governor issued Proclamation 2028 on public meetings and public records suspending the language of OPMA that requires school boards to have a physical space for a meeting. It requires that meetings be held remotely. This remains in effect until April 23rd. Proclamation also requires that public has telephonic access for attendance; attendees must be able to hear one another. Requirements prohibiting registration are also suspended. Suspends the ability for the board to take action unless the topic is “necessary and routine” or “necessary and in response to COVID-19”; all other actions must be postponed. The board may consider recommending public comment via email.
  • Take a “plain language approach” to determine “is it necessary” and/or “is it routine.” If you haven’t discussed it before and it doesn’t need to be done right now, it can be put on pause.
  • Central Kitsap's Board met today. We approved our Consent Agenda, had a budget update, passed WSSDA's emergency proclamation, and agreed to sign required documents electronically.  We used Zoom and some community members called in to the meeting.  We also arranged for public comment to be sent before the meeting.  There were none. (Jeanie Schulze, Central Kitsap)
IMPORTANT UPDATE: In light of Governor Inslee’s March 24th proclamation, see WSSDA’s update on open public meetings. Recorded 3/24/20
  • It is permissible to send an email to board members for informational purposes. It would be helpful to communicate in the message that members should not respond as to avoid a quorum. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • If OPMA is not followed, any action taken by board could be null and void. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/23/20 Some information recorded on this day was removed because it is no longer valid due to the changing nature of the situation.
  • Model resolution or a version thereof should be adopted so that boards can continue functioning within requirements. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • School board should attempt a link to their board meeting if at all possible, in the spirit of transparency. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The model resolution allows the superintendent to suspend portions of policies or whole policies that would prevent the board from adhering to official guidance. Adoption of the resolution does not remove the board as the governing body and you can continue to conduct the board’s business as usual. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/19/20 Some information recorded on this day was removed because it is no longer valid due to the changing nature of the situation.
  • Public comments do not need to be read out loud and can be posted on the website but it should be announced where the comments will be posted. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Zoom set up at district office was offered for board meeting. Public comment was required to be emailed during the meeting and the message was read during the meeting. (Melissa Beard, Tumwater SD)
  • We are going to Zoom for our next meeting. Everyone welcome, link sent out to the community and Superintendent will be in the typical meeting room for public. (Amy Huntley, Ocean Beach)
  • Beware of "ZoomBombing." Anyone publicly sharing Zoom links where they could be discovered by trolls, like from social media, should be sure to change screensharing settings to “Host Only” before a call starts. See article.
Recorded 3/18/20 Some information recorded on this day was removed because it is no longer valid due to the changing nature of the situation.
  • Using DocuSign to sign board packets.
  • Executive Sessions can be held remotely/virtually; notice must be posted (such as on website). Mercer Island SD met today with the board room available utilizing Zoom (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island SD)
Recorded 7/2/20 (Tim Garchow)
  • Apportionment will be based on fall enrollment projections as usual. Then in Janauary, apportionment will be determined by actual enrollment, as usual. OSPI has made it very clear that they’re working with legislators on how to count enrollment. OSPI intends for anyone taking in-person or remote classes with your district to count toward your enrollment number.
  • OSPI is still trying to determine how attendance will be recorded, but it will be required for both in-person and remote learning.
  • CARES funding is intended to cover COVID-related costs (for example, equipment and training).
  • Reykdal and myself haven’t heard about legislators looking to pull back CARES money through reductions in apportionment.
Recorded 6/18/20 (WSSDA Staff)
  • The revenue forecast for 2020-2023 reflects an $8.9 billion reduction from the February forecast over the next 3 years.
  • The state has a total of $3 billion in unrestricted reserves and the rainy day funds.
  • Rainy day funds will be used to offset the shortfall, although details are yet to be determined, leaving the state with a net deficit over the next three years of $6 billion.
  • Legislators will have the task in regular and possible special sessions ahead in determining how to respond to this deficit. They will be considering all options, including budget cuts, new revenue, fund transfers, use of any new federal funding, and other possibilities.  Many, if not all, sectors will be impacted.
  • As we learn what considerations are being made, we will be in communication with our members immediately.
Recorded 6/4/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • CARES Act funding is being reviewed by OFM and has not yet been released to school districts. OSPI is working with OFM staff to build understanding about the need for districts to access the funds due to costs incurred by districts in responding to COVID-19 and school closures.
Recorded 5/18/20 Recorded 5/14/20 (Trevor Carlson - Piper Sandler and Jon Gores & Cory Plager - DA Davidson)
  • Eleven counties have deferred property tax payments through May and another eleven to pay late. We do not believe there will be negative impacts to school districts.
  • Discussion included a mention of the WSSDA Budgeting and Bargaining Manual
  • No districts are in any danger of missing payments.
  • Residents can apply for deferrals in some counties.
  • A map of the state shows where decisions have been made regarding property tax deferments and delays.
  • Simple majorities for levies with EP&O are still hopeful. We must also consider the future assessed value for properties before we make further commitments to our districts and communities.
Recorded 4/23/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Washington is expected to receive approximately $200 million in federal aid money and 90 percent of that will go to school districts. The money will be distributed using the Title I funding formula, however districts will have broad discretion on how to spend the stimulus dollars from the Federal Government.
  • The 2019 Legislature approved the 2020-2021 budget appropriation for school districts. In order to change that appropriation, the Legislature would need to take action either in a special session or next year’s regularly scheduled session.
  • There will be reductions to the statewide budget but we do not know at this time how those cuts will impact school districts. We have not heard of any definitive information at this time indicating cuts to the current appropriation for schools.
Recorded 5/11/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • WSSDA has requested clear guidance on what types of activities are and are not permissible for graduation ceremonies in June, July, and August. If we get something in writing, we will share it immediately.
  • School districts that operate contrary to the Governor’s Proclamation risk loss of insurance coverage, loss of apportionment and potential liability.
Recorded 5/4/20
  • Continuous learning plan emergency rules and related guidance (FAQ) have been released by OSPI.
  • New model resolutions are available on the WSSDA website related to the continuous learning plan that must be adopted by May 29th. Districts will need to adopt only one of these resolutions:
    • One resolution adopts the continuous learning plans.
    • One resolution adopts the continuous learning plan plus waiver for instructional hours.
    • One resolution adopts the continuous learning plan plus waiver for instructional hours and
  • The form to apply for a waiver will be available May 15th. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • WSSDA has disseminated a survey to all board chairs to identify if the board, as part of their continuous learning plan, has approved the grading framework for their district and, if so, which framework. We encourage you to complete this survey so that all boards are represented in the results. (Tricia Lubach, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/23/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Washington is expected to receive approximately $200 million in federal aid money and 90 percent of that will go to school districts. The money will be distributed using the Title I funding formula, however districts will have broad discretion on how to spend the stimulus dollars from the Federal Government.
  • The 2019 Legislature approved the 2020-2021 budget appropriation for school districts. In order to change that appropriation, the Legislature would need to take action either in a special session or next year’s regularly scheduled session.
  • There will be reductions to the statewide budget but we do not know at this time how those cuts will impact school districts. We have not heard of any definitive information at this time indicating cuts to the current appropriation for schools. 
Recorded 4/20/20
  • WSSDA is working with education partners and labor associations to co-author guidance to support the process on how school employers and employees should conduct bargaining conversations for Covid-19 related impacts to collective bargaining agreements. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • A “Basic Education versus Non-Basic Education”, taken from the 2020 House Operating Budget Briefing Book, provides a look at the differentiation between “constitutionally protected” state appropriations and that which is not protected by the state’s paramount duty. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/13/20
  • Current state apportionment will continue to flow to school districts. WSSDA will advocate to prevent funding cuts in the future. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Staff on payroll must be engaged in meaningful work as to avoid “gift of public funds.” (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/9/20
  • OSPI is working with the federal government to determine how to implement the Federal Cares Act in Washington. One benefit includes increased flexibility with use of title funds. Additional guidance will be forthcoming. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/2/20
  • It is possible but not determined yet if there will be a special session. There will be much to advocate for in the 2021 Legislative Session and priorities will be determined in the months ahead. Advocacy efforts might include the prevention of reduction of school funding, if that were a consideration. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/31/20
  • The next WA state revenue forecast will be released in June and will be our first indication of the level of impact on our state’s economy. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/30/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • April elections were not canceled by the Governor; the decision to cancel, or not, is in the authority of county commissioners.
  • Some counties are considering delaying property tax collections. However at this time we are being told that this delay would most likely not apply to property taxes paid through escrow accounts.
  • The economic tale on this crisis will last a long time; layoffs and unemployment will have a lasting impact on our economy and future available revenue.
  • Long-range fiscal planning will be impacted by lessened state revenue. Districts are encouraged to review their four-year budget and consider the impact of any new or reoccurring costs before reaching agreement on any open bargaining agreements. Review WSSDA’s Budget and Bargaining Manual before moving forward with any contracts. 
Recorded 3/26/20 
  • Districts should be considering fund balance in the case that tax collections are postponed (yet to be determined). (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • In the next week or two, districts should start seriously considering long-range fiscal planning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • We (Centralia School Board) rescinded our April special election at the request of our county elections office and anticipating that the governor would cancel it as well (before we received the news that he would not). (Lori Fast, Centralia)
Recorded 3/25/20
  • Potential suspension of April elections will have an impact on 16 school districts, especially in regards to reduction in force; the Governor has not yet made a decision.
  • Some county commissioners have requested a property tax collection delay.
Recorded 4/20/20
  • Childcare providers sometimes do not feel comfortable with addressing academics. District has been reaching out to those providers about how to access information and strategies. (Siri Bliesner, Lake Washington)
  • District-provided childcare is a "last resort" option, so, just as it is for any family juggling learning continuity with working families, access to supports for children is not consistent across the system. This is one more face to the equity issue. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
Recorded 3/26/20 
  • School districts do not need to be licensed as a childcare institution for students in kindergarten or older. The Department of Children Youth and Families is working on a guidance document to address the issue of students who are not enrolled in school under the age of kindergarten. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • North Thurston Public Schools has child care in the schools, partnering with YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, as weekly camps. They are providing free childcare to all healthcare workers for free at least at some of those run by the Y. It opened it up to all healthcare workers and first responders wherever they live, work or are enrolled in school.  (Melissa Hartley, North Thurston)
  • In Shelton for childcare we have partnered with Mason General Hospital. They are helping with the program along with our district staff.  At this time it is for first responders and healthcare workers.  In Shelton we do not have a YMCA yet and no Boys and Girls Club.  We greatly appreciate the partnership with our local hospital. (Keri Davidson, Shelton)
  • Similar to meals, the proclamation and the Governor’s list of essential functions allow you to continue or begin providing child care for the children of healthcare workers, first responders, pharmacy or grocery store workers, or other children as you deem appropriate. Please continue to follow theDepartment of Health’s guidelines for maintaining health and safety in child care environments. (Chris Reykdal, OSPI)
  • The Department of Children Youth and Families is developing guidance on how school districts might be able to provide childcare to youth under the age of five and not yet enrolled in school. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some of the school districts in eastern Washington currently providing childcare: Walla Walla, Central Valley, Dayton, Spokane Public Schools
Recorded 3/23/20
  • Districts are encouraged to continue providing childcare to children of essential service providers. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/19/20
  • OSPI’s guidance on essential staff who districts will serve with childcare include health care and first responders employees who are needed on the front lines working are the essential staff; districts have the authority to expand their definition of essential. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • District-run daycare using the "summer camp" model for first responders. A letter has gone out to those organizations to gauge interest. A copy of the letter is available to share. The childcare would be open and free from 6 am – 8 pm for children 30 months to 12 years old for essential service providers. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen)
  • OSPI is working to identify gaps in services and look to alternative methods for childcare to respond to the need across the state. Considering the development of a regional or state drop off site map. (Michaela Miller, OSPI)
  • We partner with our hospital to do health checks with students in our childcare. (Sandra Tarzwell, Shelton)
  • NTPS has been providing childcare for all first responders and healthcare who are in hospitals and urgent care settings. Kyle Cronk from YMCA has been an amazing community partner. We started with Capital Medical Center and went from there. Cielo and Together! are providing a camp model for Spanish speaking families. (Gretchen Maliska, North Thurston)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • Riverview School District sent out a survey to our parents. (Lori Oviatt, Riverview SD)
  • MISD planning for no more than 50 individuals per building, 10 individuals in each room (staff/student mix as appropriate or needed). I think this is per the order. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island SD)
  • We've been aiming to keep rooms to no more than 10 kids and we are trying to follow the social distancing guidelines. 6% of 55,000 is 3,000 which is a LARGE number of children per site. We are trying to open 35 sites. That’s a lot of children per site. (Chandra Hampson, Seattle)
  • MISD is aware of volunteers wanting to help, but background checks are still paramount for caregiving (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
  • Engaged YMCA summer programs and another local, summer program – hired their staff to come in to provide support (Bob Swain, Northshore SD)
  • Essential staff needing childcare support includes healthcare, first/emergency responders, grocery store employees (Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah SD)
  • Keep rooms to no more than 10 kids and we are trying to follow the social distancing guidelines. Items have been brought in for individual student engagement so students are touching similar items (i.e., books in library) Military child care available on two sites at JBLM. Bethel planning to share info with our parents. (Brenda Rogers, Bethel SD)
Recorded 4/30/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA) Recorded 3/30/20
  • Construction can continue, per the Governor’s Proclamation. If construction ceases now due to a contractor’s decision-making, check your contracts when there is a return to work to be certain that agreements are continued. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/26/20
  • School district construction can continue within the parameters of the Governor’s stay at home order. If a construction company determines that they will not continue working due to safety issues, construction could then cease until the company brings their employees back to work. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Updated 3/26/20
  • Per OSPI on 3/26/20 at 10:30 a.m. school construction is considered essential.
Recorded 6/11/20
  • Student school board representatives were invited to present their perspectives on the experience of remote learning during school closures, including considerations for the 2020-21 school year.
    • Students recommend that school boards prioritize safety for any school function combined with creating a sense of normalcy.
    • For continued learning in a remote environment, students would like to recommend:
      • more consistency with teacher use of technology,
      • more frequent communication with teachers and other students,
      • consistency with use of learning platforms across the district,
      • creation of a more consistent schedule and accountability structure, and
      • training for teachers and family members on the use of technology and use of platforms.
    • Continuous learning was beneficial in offering flexibility. More time became available to focus on content of interest.
    • Some teachers committed more time to students getting to know one another and share stories about their lives and backgrounds.
Recorded 5/28/20
  • The governing board of an LEA seeking an emergency school closure waiver under chapter 392-901 WAC must adopt a resolution approving a continuous learning plan by May 29, 2020.
Recorded 5/11/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • WSSDA has requested clear guidance on what types of activities are and are not permissible for graduation ceremonies in June, July, and August. If we get something in writing, we will share it immediately.
  • School districts that operate contrary to the Governor’s Proclamation risk loss of insurance coverage, loss of apportionment and potential liability.
Recorded 5/4/20
  • Continuous learning plan emergency rules and related guidance (FAQ) have been released by OSPI.
  • New model resolutions are available on the WSSDA website related to the continuous learning plan that must be adopted by May 29th. Districts will need to adopt only one of these resolutions:
    • One resolution adopts the continuous learning plans.
    • One resolution adopts the continuous learning plan plus waiver for instructional hours.
    • One resolution adopts the continuous learning plan plus waiver for instructional hours and
  • The form to apply for a waiver will be available May 15th. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • WSSDA has disseminated a survey to all board chairs to identify if the board, as part of their continuous learning plan, has approved the grading framework for their district and, if so, which framework. We encourage you to complete this survey so that all boards are represented in the results. (Tricia Lubach, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/30/20
  • WSSDA will be disseminating a survey to all board chairs to identify if the board has reached an agreement about the grading framework for their district and, if so, which framework. (Tricia Lubach, WSSDA)
  • School districts are required to include a COVID designator on student transcripts while new grading frameworks are in place.
  • OSPI has issued guidance on reaching all students that addresses instructional strategies and services to support Multilingual/English Learners and students who are receiving migrant services. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Recommendations for daily/weekly learning time commitments by grade level are provided in OSPI’s guidance on continuous learning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • One strategy around serving each and every student. We are having classified staff reach out and follow up with students and families whom teachers have not been able to contact. Our HR departement is helping manage this.  We are all hands on deck for kids right now, and getting as creative as we can.  (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
Recorded 4/27/20
  • Mercer Island School Districts states, “Students, based on the preponderance of evidence gathered by teachers and educators, will receive either an ‘A’ or ‘Incomplete’ for all spring semester/trimester high school and middle school courses that provide credits toward high school graduation.” The “Incomplete” may be converted to an “A” (or “P” Pass in some circumstances) by the end of the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year under specific situations. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
Recorded 4/23/20
  • OSPI has issued guidance and emergency rules on required and recommended grading practices.
    • Emergency rule removes pass/fail grades in any credit-bearing courses unless it is part of the student’s IEP.
    • Districts still have flexibility on how they choose to apply letter grading.
  • Glenna Gallo, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education, OSPI
    • Resources on inclusionary practices for students with disabilities are available on OSPI’s website for districts to consider in implementing services and instruction for students with disabilities.
    • The Federal Department of Education will release guidance on April 27th on “free, appropriate education” in the space of this national emergency.
    • The language being used by DOE is “reasonable efforts”; documentation of efforts should identify what was offered, if and how it was accessed.
    • Universal design for learning approaches can be embedded in special education services.
    • If family members have concerns, they should contact the special education director directly. Resolution may be reached more quickly with this approach than filing complaints.
    • OSPI has encouraged tele-practices for PT and OT services. Privacy considerations are essential in this space.
  • In Shoreline School District, in addition to pointing students and families to existing resources on other websites, we have some special education video/virtual lessons created by our district staff shared on our remote learning website that address different special education programs (e.g. ILS, BLS, Blended, etc.) and needs (e.g. SLP, PT/OT, etc.) Shoreline Remote Learning > Pages > Special Education (Sara Betnel, Shoreline)
Recorded 4/20/20
  • Packets and regular text book curriculum doesn't work for everyone. The best alternative/addition I've seen so far is: "Connecting Across Distance" A coronavirus cross-curricular project by Joe Truss at (Judy Fay, Arlington)
  • This was on NPR: "... PresenceLearning, a company that works with hundreds of school districts offering live speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavior and mental health services. At first, Leonardi was thinking the district would use the company's therapists for services, but the idea shifted instead to train Wilton educators and therapists to use the platform." Article: Educators Get Creative to Serve Students with Disabilities (Maggie Tai Tucker, Mercer Island)
  • Recommendations for grading practices will be released by OSPI this week. WSSDA staff (Tim and Abigail) and Board President (Brenda Rogers) advocated for flexibility as a part of the work group recommendations. (OSPI Website)
  • In supporting families with the use of technology, several of our schools have created videos or screen shot tutorials. We also have an IT help line for families. (Natalie Haggland, Stanwood-Camano)
  • The district is using a call line to tech department so that families can seek support for remote instruction. (Martin Brewer, Port Angeles)
  • School district staff are identifying the most essential learning standards for each grade level in order to create district-wide consistency and an understanding for where to start next school year. (Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah)
  • For determining the standards for this year, we are trying to do both top-down and bottom-up by discussing and getting inputs at different levels. Plus we have multiple district-wide teams at different levels that include all different educators (teachers, curriculum directors, principals, etc.) working together on this.  Systems approach to know where students are at when move up to next grade level. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
Recorded 4/16/20 Recorded 4/13/20
  • Recommendations for daily/weekly learning time commitments by grade level are provided in OSPI’s guidance on continuous learning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Mercer Island School District distributes enrichment packets for elementary school students, broken down by grade and subject area, by bus routes or specific pickup locations. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
  • Now, as always, we must strive for meaningful, relevant, current, engaging - teaching and learning - that is connected to the times we are in. When assigning social studies curriculum - we should ask students to read about community helpers online - we need to guide our students to identify them in our own community - right now - school district staff handing out food, teachers working with us, the mailman, garbage collector, grocery clerk and reach out to them with thank yous. There has never been a better time for problem-based learning. Earth Day project-based learning to celebrate the 50-year anniversary on April 22. (Judy Fay, Arlington)
  • There could be a significant impact to a students’ academic trajectory when a high school student earns a pass/no credit grade for college credit. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Districts should consider college placement when determining how grades are issued. (Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah)
  • Some parents and teachers have expressed frustration over challenges associated with continuous learning; all parties should remain open to new ideas and try whatever is possible. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some families want more expectations and others want less; communication to address concerns and needs is critical. This is definitely a balancing act for all - students, families and staff. This is requiring a balancing of expectations for all and making sure to take care of the social emotional side of our students and getting those connections into place. (Siri Bliesner, Lake Washington)
  • WSSDA is developing letters to send to Senators Murray and Cantwell on targeted flexibility with IDEA; the letter will be submitted for approval to WSSDA’s Board of Directors prior to being sent. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Messaging from district to community has clearly communicated the expectation for continuous learning. The district has been sharing strategies for multi-student households with technology. (Cindy McMullen, Central Valley)
  • Comcast has allowed all people to utilize the Wi-Fi that are created by customers Wi-Fi and normally only able to be used by Comcast customers. Xfinity WiFi Hotspot Access Opens Nationwide in Response to Coronavirus and Xfinity WiFi Hotspots Overview (Troy McCoy, Battle Ground)
  • You can find an interactive map of Comcast's hotspots at: (John Gahagan, Mukilteo)
Recorded 4/9/20
  • According to communications sent out by Washington state higher education institutions, students who complete credit-bearing, high school coursework for graduation will not be impacted negatively for admissions to colleges if school districts decide to issue pass/fail grades. However, it should be noted that students may be impacted beyond admissions if a letter grade is not issued (as in cases of athletics, scholarships, majors, etc.). See the letter from higher education for additional information. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • OSPI’s Continuous Learning Workgroup is in the process of developing a list of recommended strategies for grading practices; recommendations will be forthcoming. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • In the Bellevue School District surveys for students in grades 3-12 include questions about learning and personal impacts/experiences. Teachers and administrators have decided to track implementation of learning approaches, understanding they evolve, in order to inform process improvements. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • While school districts in Washington are continuing to provide special education services, there are some challenges regarding timelines and other issues. Therefore, many educational stakeholders are seeking targeted flexibility needed for continuity of services related to IDEA. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The required Continuous Learning Plans do not need to be approved at this time although data on school meals, childcare and continuous learning considerations are being collected currently by OSPI. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/9/20
  • OSPI has released a guidance document called Continuous Learning 2020 that includes a variety of strategies for providing instruction remotely, including assessments, family engagement, and staff supports. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/6/20
  • OSPI issued further guidance on continuous learning.
  • Comcast has connectivity that leads to 90% of Washington households; if there is funding made available, more widely-available access to the Internet is possible. For the remaining 10% of Washingtonians, there are strategies for increasing access such as those modeled by the military in remote areas. The Department of Commerce is looking at accessible dollars to increase access for all. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Department of Education is considering how federal funding/title program dollars might be used for increasing access to technology. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Federal government is considering how to increase flexibility within IDEA. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Staff, including paraeducators, may be providing additional remediation to students via phone or virtual meeting. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Many school districts are finding ways to connect socially and emotionally to their students such as making videos with staff and teachers communicating a unified, inspiring message or creating a solo cup message in a school’s chain link fence (Tacoma). (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Peninsula is starting a YouTube playlist/channel with continuous learning videos from our teachers. (Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
  • Bellevue School District has created a survey to check in with families for what is working and what is not in regards to continuous learning. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
Recorded 4/2/20
  • If school closures extend through the end of the year, an increasingly rigorous continuous learning plan may be expected of school districts. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Cell on Wheels (COWs) - traveling trucks providing internet access - may be made available to areas that don’t have access to broadband. Several public and private entities are currently partnering to explore the possibilities of expanding internet access to Washington households. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Public Broadcast Service is offering free online learning strategies and could be one option/opportunity for continuous learning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • There is no one magic bullet to reaching all kids. Many different approaches must be attempted. Staff from all classified and non-classified units are helping by calling students and families. Bus drivers are delivering technology to families. Staff are working with teachers and advocacy groups in the area to offer ideas and provide support to students/families. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are increasing data for cell/internet usage. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Flash drives being used to deliver some materials to some students rather than printing; not a universal solution for all but works for some.(Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
  • In Ocean Beach School District, several of our local business, like McDonalds, Adrift Hotel and others in town are letting kids access their wi-fi networks from their parking lots. (John Holtermann, Ocean Beach)
  • Free webinar opportunity for anyone to participate on April 3, 2020 from 1-3 pm: Moving Beyond the Packet: Creating More Culturally Responsive Distance Learning Experiences. The link for this webinar has been sent out via e-Clippings. (Aurora Flores, Manson)
  • If a staff member is concerned about using private telephone to contact students and their families, they can enter *67 before dialing the student’s number. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • If you subscribe to Google Voice or Cisco Jabber, you can get your own phone number that can function as phone and/or transcription system. You must have a gmail account in order to access this free service. (Francine Wiest, Bellevue)
  • Mukilteo School District is working with external organizations to fulfill print request for learning materials by families. (Judy Schwab, Mukilteo)
  • OSPI bulletin 022-20 provides guidance on remote learning for students with IEPs. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/31/20
  • OSPI has determined that state assessments will not be required. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The waiver of standardized testing as required by ESSA has been approved by the US Department of Education. (Marie Sullivan, WA PTA)
  • OSPI is contemplating how to release students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) from taking a state assessment if currently required in their plan. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
Recorded 3/30/20 
  • Continuous learning requirements started today for all Washington school districts. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Bulletin 24-20:  OSPI will launch a data collection tool to collect information about the nutrition, childcare, and educational services districts are providing. This bulletin from OSPI includes a sample plan template, not required for use, and a sample continuous learning workflow (page 7). More information will be forthcoming. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • School districts are not required to submit their Continuous Learning Plans to OSPI for approval. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some districts are providing continuous learning packets that are being translated into language spoken at home and being developed to be more “parent/guardian”-friendly to better enable delivery. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • A teacher in a remote area is providing instruction to a student with disabilities by phone on Sundays, as that is the only day available in the family. It is understood that any effort to provide instruction is good and evaluation of progress is important. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
  • T-Mobile has a program called “Empower Ed” providing subsidized and/or free cell service to families. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/26/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • School districts should be focused on providing instruction to all students in any way possible within the stay at home order through technology, paper and pen, phone calls, email, apps, etc. The delivery does not need to be perfect. Make a plan, implement it, monitor it, and then adjust it.  Everyone involved is going to need to be flexible.
  • As districts are finding strategies to reach all students with instruction, we will be sharing those strategies on our weekly calls and here on this website.
Recorded 3/25/20 
  • Education must continue and districts should determine how to provide instruction no later than March 30, 2020 (based on OSPI guidance).
  • School districts should develop a plan to implement remote learning (based on OSPI guidance).
  • Develop a plan that considers how to address the needs of all students; continue to monitor and adjust.
  • Engagement and interaction are important for students to maintain connection and learning. The decisions being made are in tandem with labor union. The district has made it clear that changes will occur and decisions are fluid. For those teachers/administrators that want to go above and beyond, they should be allowed to do so as they are trailblazers for others. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • The district conducted a successful Zoom meeting with 950 employees. Teachers were empowered to reach out to their students and were given flexibility for how and when to make contact.
  • We will utilize Google Classroom, launching K-6 direct instruction in Math next week, developing a schedule to include content focus days and will launch English Language Arts after spring break. (Marty Brewer, Port Angeles)
  • Teams and administrators have developed “engage” to provide support to community members and teachers with information on student engagement, meals, IT support, childcare, communication and FAQs. (Lori Oviatt, Riverview)
  • Schools may continue to provide continued instruction even through the spring break timeline. Districts should consider local bargaining agreements before deciding on how to move forward. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Districts should be prepared to provide support/instruction to parents on how to use technology if the districts is moving toward virtual learning opportunities. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
  • Peninsula School District is engaging their students with Too Cool for School - Virtual Kids Camp. (Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
Recorded 3/24/20
  • Board and superintendent teams should review current resources and opportunities to enable student learning.
  • Superintendent worked over the weekend following school closures to develop a plan that included an MOU for all staff. The district then trained the staff on remote learning possibilities; provided Chrome books and computer access for those students in grades 6-12 who did not have access previously. K-5 students receive packets on Monday and return by Friday while teachers follow up with students each week. (Eric Rindal, Walla Walla)
  • Payment for hotspots have been covered in some areas by local banks and business. If school districts do no have this option, paper and pen instruction can be the focus. (Tim Garchow, WSSA)
  • is an option for providing online learning support. (Katherine Leid, Dayton)
  • Local telephone company donated internet access to homes with students in the community who did not already have it. (Harmon Smith, LaCrosse)
  • OSPI is seeking additional funding for compensatory services and additional hours/days to provide instructions to students with disabilities. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may also receive funding to provide hotpots and/or Internet access for students who are low-income. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • OSPI will work to provide guidance that will address the needs of all students, including students with disabilities, in line with Federal requirements. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Parent-friendly lesson plans being developed by many school districts.
  • Some districts are offering 1:1 teaching and learning with computers and hotspots.
  • Do what you can with what you have. If you can’t do it online because of a lack of technology resources, focus on pen and paper.
  • Many teachers are using their time to check in with students on a daily or weekly schedule. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • See OSPI’s issued guidance (released on March 20) on assessments
Recorded 3/19/20
  • Guidance on expectations for student learning is underway. The system of delivering instruction for special population rests on the foundation of basic education and supplemental programs are in addition to basic education. OSPI encourages districts to request teacher engagement with students and families by phone calls, at minimum. Districts should also be considering 1:1 technology opportunities that exist within the district and community. Urge school districts to work collaboratively and to await guidance, which will be made available on Monday, March 23rd. Social and emotional needs of students is also of paramount importance; a simple call from a teacher can significantly help to improve social and emotional health. (Michaela Miller, OSPI)
  • For packet pick up, the district borrowed flyer boxes from a realty company to allow parent pick up of learning packets. (Amy Huntley, Ocean Beach)
  • Teachers are checking in regularly with students to assess attempts to progress toward learning. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • WIAA maintains authority over state tournaments. (Michaela Miller, OSPI)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • I’ve heard that some districts are delivering work packets and parent family lesson plans in the delivered lunches (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Please share this website on educational resources: (Bob Swain, Northshore SD)
  • These aren't constraints. Every child deserves a fair and appropriate public education. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island SD)
  • Northshore started to plan for online learning on March 9th and handed out 3500 devices, included hotspots for families that needed internet, paraeducators were working with students with disabililties (Amy Cast & Bob Swain, Northshore SD)
Recorded 6/11/20
  • The USDA has approved waivers to all schools nationwide to allow all districts to provide school meals through August 31st.
  • Review the guidance on Pandemic EBT cards to understand how you can apply for and access food resources.
Recorded 6/4/20
  • Leanne Ecko, Nutrition Services Director with OSPI, shared information and resources via PowerPoint with members to help districts navigate providing meal service – now and in the immediate future. School districts are serving over two million meals per week, on average, indicating the significant lift that districts are carrying to support students and families.
    • Current waiver from Federal Gov’t has been approved through June 30th.
    • School districts in certain areas are required by law to provide summer meals.
    • Districts should consider how to support community nonprofits providing meals, especially if they chose not to provide meals themselves.
    • Districts should consider offering their facilities, if even just the parking lot, to provide meals to students and families throughout the summer.
Recorded 5/28/20
  • Strategies, Considerations and Challenges for Summer Meal Programs:
    • The Boys and Girls club works with our Food bank who has the stats on our free and reduce rates, plus have kept good stats during the last week. Sequim used some para's and bus drivers and is planning to continue to do so. (Jim Stoffer, Sequim)
    • Washington Legislature could codify and fully fund school meals for all. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
    • Could we use the numbers we recorded during closure to adjust our FRL rates? (Hilary Seidel, Olympia)
    • The cost is the biggest obstacle. (Nancy Armstrong – Nespelem)
    • Challenges to providing summer meals include the cost of staffing, available staffing (union issues), staff cost higher than meals reimbursed, waivers expiring. (Stefanie Jesperson, Union Gap)
    • Central Kitsap feeds 3,000 meals to students a day. We are working to identify funding stream but we plan to continue feeding students this summer as well as provide childcare. (Jeanie Schulze, Central Kitsap)
    • Barriers to food service: Funding, contract language, pick up options, higher than ever demand. (Jeff Lucas, Eatonville)
    • Obstacle to summer meals: existing contracts that have staff members not planning on working in July & August (Amy Cast, Northshore)
    • A barrier to providing summer meals is any requirement to verify family income before providing food to the children and any restrictions to feeding children under the age of 18. (Cindy McMullen, Central Valley)
    • The funding calculation was done last October and we did not qualify but we may now qualify in more areas for summer meals. (Marc Rosson, Arlington)
    • Barriers to summer meal program: Funding + CBA with bus drivers, nutrition services staff and other 10-month employees. (Elizabeth Bonbright, Tacoma)
    • Staff need a break and time to prep for the fall school year. (Heather Fralick, Shoreline)
    • We have a summer meal program, but not like we're doing it now. Right now, it's fully subsidized by the Feds for everyone.  I think we would continue it for the summer if it's continued to be paid for by the Feds. (Rick Jansens, Richland)
    • The biggest challenge is that families who have not historically needed food support do now - our FRL numbers don't reflect the real need in our community. We need that flexibility and support to feed everyone who needs it. (Hilary Seidel, Olympia)
    • The question for us goes beyond just having or not having, but about the extent to which we can afford broader distribution systems...what kind of waiver/funding can we get to allow us to fund more distribution points/transportation to families. (Christine Chew, Bellevue)
    • Summer Meal Program: MISD does not typically offer a "summer feed" program; so that is not something that is currently in the scope of the District's plans. (Brian Giannini-Upton, Mercer Island)
    • One of the obstacles for a summer feeding program is reimbursement for the meals. Staffing is an obstacle.  We have had to go to pre-packaged meals because of staffing issues.  The meals are significantly more expensive and our food service costs are rapidly escalating.  The need is HUGE in Yakima and from March 17 through last week we have served just under 700,000 breakfast and lunch meals. (Martha Rice, Yakima)
Recorded 4/6/20 Recorded 3/30/20
  • Bulk distribution of food on Friday (120,000 meal packs estimated) for food security in Yakima. Food service workers fall into high-risk groups; other certified/classified staff (principals, teachers, etc.) have volunteered to pack and distribute lunch sacks. Support from the community has included packing bags, fruit boxes, and other supplies. (Martha Rice, Yakima)
Recorded 3/24/20
  • The proclamationand the Governor’s list of “essential critical infrastructure workers” allow you to continue serving meals to your students and the children in your communities. It is OSPI’s expectation that you will continue the fantastic work you have already done to ensure our young people have access to the nutritious meals they need. (Chris Reykdal, OSPI)
  • While no official guidance on whether or not to provide school meals during a district’s scheduled “spring break” timeframe exists at this time, districts should strongly consider feeding students during this time frame. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • Districts are encouraged to continue providing meals in any way possible, even during the planned spring break week. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Pierce County heat map reflects food distribution sites for school districts in the county. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Drive-up program from 18 to 12 schools for any child 18 or under and could be any child in the district that includes a lunch and breakfast. Access is available from 10:30-12:30. Principals and assistant principals are staffing in addition to other staff. The child(ren) receiving a meal must be accompanied by a parent. Up to 31,000 meals each day. (Martha Rice, Yakima)
Recorded 3/20/20
  • We strongly encourage folks to consider serving in apartment complexes where there is the greatest need. This has been highly successful for us in getting a ton of food out to kids who need it - especially as families are understandably nervous to leave their homes. It also has the benefit of reducing the number of kids who will try to stick around on school grounds to play on equipment and possibly spread contagion. We're just adding sites as we find pockets and asking principals to let us know when we need to add sites. (Hilary Seidel, Olympia)
  • We are doing meals at schools plus home delivery. We have some remote locations so using bus routes was not efficient as some stops are 1 kid. (Troy McCoy, Battle Ground)
Recorded March 19, 2020
  • Buses running elementary school routes with breakfast and lunch to any child under the age of 19 (a little over 5,000 students) through summer lunch program; meals being provided also for any student walk-ups to elementary schools. Bus drivers designed the strategy and played an essential role. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen SD)
  • Partnership with the local YMCA summer program to provide support to hand out meals. (Jim Stoffer, Sequim SD)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • Pick up lunches at school. If they come grab lunch, they can also grab breakfast for the next day. Replication of summer services. (Christine Chew, Bellevue SD)
  • We’re doing both - pick up lunch and breakfast and bus drivers are taking meals to areas with larger distribution such as lower income housing developments. (Caroline Mason, Everett SD)
  • We have the buses run the elementary school and make each stop to give out meals (Carolynn Perkins, Bremerton)
  • Distributing Monday Wednesday Friday, providing multiple meals (Lee Anne Riddle, Ferndale SD)
  • Districts in Pierce County (15 total) worked together to establish a map where students in the county can pick up at those sites, also includes breakfast for the next day (Elizabeth Bonbright, Tacoma Public Schools) – map will be distributed later
  • Parents are being asked to pick up at Bethel schools from 1800 to 2068 students in one day (Brenda Rogers, Bethel SD)
Recorded 8/13/20 (WSSDA Staff) CARES Act funding released
  • 8 million dollars of CARES act funds has been released.
  • OSPI is coordinating and paying for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch to gain internet access.
  • OSPI will be covering the cost of internet for those who are eligible through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Based on current information from OSPI, districts will receive their full transportation apportionment through January.
WSSDA General Assembly/ Webpages: Caucus meetings and Assembly handbook
  • WSSDA is having our first-ever General Assembly on September 25 from 8 am to 8 pm.
  • It is virtual, free, and accessible to all members. No registration is needed.
  • Actions to take before the General Assembly
    • View the handbook, attend your Director Area caucus and/or membership meeting, and select a delegate for voting.
  • Communications will be coming out soon to select your voting delegate.
WSSDA Officer Panel – The challenging & vital role of being a leader in your community
  1. Educational leaders are currently under a great level of pressure. How are you navigating that role?
  • No matter what, you’re going to get push back. Work together with your school board, take a deep breath, and do all you can as a school board to solve any issues.
  • Give your community members the ability to voice their concerns and really listen. When community members feel heard, they may feel more comfortable accepting your board’s decisions.
  • Actively listen to all of your stakeholders and be compassionate and understanding of how they're feeling. But ultimately, our job is to make the best decisions for our community. In the end, it'll be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it'll be quite apparent if we under-reacted or did too little.
  1. School director elections are non-partisan, but we all know that many education issues are seen through a political lens, especially now perhaps. What advice do you have to help school directors reframe those discussions and decisions about education away from those political sound bites?
  • Don't engage in political conversations, not only in in-person settings but also on social media.
  • Circle back to what's important, safety. Reinforce that we're here for the benefit of all students. Not only do we have to think about what's best for our student’s academic and the social-emotional issues, but we have to think about safety, and that should be the number one priority.
  • Reference the official rules and guidance that we are required to follow. Respond with, “Our job is to follow the processes that are in place.”
  • Remember our paramount duty as it's written in the Washington state constitution. “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” There's no mention of a political party, it's simply the right thing to do, and that is what we were all elected to do regardless of our political affiliation.
  1. As you know, school directors are and have been all spring and summer, getting a lot of operational level questions. School directors really try to stay in the strategic, policy, and governance realms rather than at the strategic level. But strategic level questions are the ones that parents want to ask: What about mask wearing? How far apart desks will be? How many kids in each classroom? How are you responding to these questions from the strategic perspective of a school board member?
  • Refer community members to the guidance we have posted on our website. If the answer isn’t there, forward the question to the superintendent.
  1. What is your district doing in terms of providing special education services this fall?
  • Bringing in our special education students in-person for 4 hours a day to provide the IP services they need. In our small district, it is not difficult for us.
  • Looking at possibly bringing in no more than five kids to a teacher at a time to those most in need, but it has not been finalized yet.
  • Providing our special education students with Chromebooks to work virtually and will be moving them into the classroom whenever that is a safe option.
  • We will make arrangements for our special education students to meet face-to-face with staff.
  1. What are you doing to take care of yourself mentally physically spiritually right now and what advice do you have for fellow School directors in this area
  • Remember the basics: exercise, drink water, eat well, sleep well.
  • Give grace to yourself and those around you.
  • Find a creative outlet.
  • Laugh whenever you can.
  • Get outside, or take a day trip.
  • Create a safe space with friends or family to openly express your feelings.
  • Every day think about what you are grateful for and what is good in your life.
  • Continue to follow-up on your physical health. Do a telehealth visit with your doctor is needed.
  • Show compassion and grace to others. Helping those around you can give you a sense of satisfaction.
  • Reframe your goals to meet the current time. Maybe change that goal of losing 20 pounds to not gaining 20.
  • SEATAC, Wash. - Three families with children who have special needs are filing a lawsuit against the state. The families from King, Pierce, and Thurston counties said their kids were denied basic education during the COVID-19 pandemic because they couldn’t learn remotely.
    • Almost a week ago a lawsuit that came out against every school district in the nation and some state agencies challenging that students who need special education services did not receive their full education.
    • There are many unanswered questions about the case and we will keep you updated
Recorded 8/6/20 (Tim Garchow) Recorded 7/23/20 (Tim Garchow)
  • The school reopening template was released by OSPI.
  • We’re (WSSDA, SBE and PESB) sending a letter to the governor and legislators about OPMA asking for a consistent approach. We’re requesting that they extend the waiver/suspension through Jan 31, 2021 and that the guidelines be aligned with reopening phases, which would allow counties in phases 3 and 4 to have in-person meetings, if they choose.
Recorded 7/16/20 (Tim Garchow)
  • OSPI to release a template for district reopening plans, which needs to be approved by school boards via resolution. WSSDA will share a model resolution shortly following OSPI’s release of the template.
  • Districts will get the remainder of their allocation of Cares Act funding. The funds should be coming in the August apportionment.
  • The Washington Department of Health is citing a research report by the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) tying school reopening to the situation in the surrounding community. This report and other resources are regularly shared in WSSDA’s eClippings.
  • OSPI has release and FAQ with information regarding Services to Students with Disabilities During COVID.
  • WSSDA is still pushing for some sort of cover for districts regarding liability. We see this topic starting to come up in other states.
  • a lengthy list of the reopening plans of some of the largest school districts in the country, FYI.
Legislative Policy Workgroup Update Brenda Rogers, Bethel School District and WSSDA board president:
  • This workgroup consists of elected officials talking about bills that might be needed to facilitate K-12 reopening and ongoing delivery of educational services.
  • The group’s job is to look at existing guidance and then figure out what legislation needs to be revised or created. So far, connectivity (infrastructure for remote learning, devices, training, and leaning platforms have dominated our conversations. We’ve acknowledged that needs are significant, as they are for other sectors like healthcare or private business, etc.
  • The group is exploring what districts are doing to improve connectivity. We’re talking about what training has been given and what more should be offered.
  • Among other details, we’re talking about the existing K20 network as a potential partial solution; using federal and state funds to leverage Erate, looking at the idea of starting an OSPI grant program to work with providers and school districts to address training and connectivity needs. ESD’s are also involved in many training efforts.
  • On instructional platforms: OSPI is encouraging districts to reduce the variety of platforms and tools used by districts, in part, due to family feedback that everything is very confusing. Platform decisions appear to be remaining at the district level.
  • The group worked on a decision-making framework and remaining topics we’ll discuss in the near future are:
    • Funding options & challenges
    • Accountability and assessments
    • Liability and risk management
    • Childcare
Recorded 7/2/20 (Tim Garchow)
  • No meeting next week and we’ll resume on July 16, 2020.
SBE Rulemaking July 8-9 (Wed. Thurs) the State Board of Education will meet to talk about potential recommendations to the legislature and new rulemaking. Topics will include: Rulemaking concepts
  • Instructional hours and days for the 2020-21 school year
  • Mastery-based crediting
  • Clarification on meeting subject-area graduation requirements
  • Flexibility for WA State History requirement
Potential legislative requests
  • Graduation pathways flexibility
  • Credit graduation requirements flexibility
Questions/feedback can be sent to: DOH Letter The WSSDA board voted on Tuesday to send a letter to the Department of Health (DOH) asking if, in light of the recent reopening guidance sent out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they might consider the possibility of:
  • Reducing the social distancing requirement from 6ft to 3ft
  • Exempting preschool – 3rd grade from wearing masks
  • Exempting communities that don’t have active transmission of the virus.
The WSSDA board is seeking a meeting with DOH officials to discuss this letter. Recorded 6/25/20 (Tim Garchow)
  • Governor Inslee announced that all Washingtonians are required to wear masks.
  • WSSDA Board of Directors is working to schedule a meeting with Department of Health (DOH) to understand the data that DOH used as the basis for the regulations associated with reopening schools.
  • WIAA issued guidance on June 22, 2020 for opening up high school sports and activities.
  • WSSDA Networking Call will not occur on July 9th.
  • Superintendent Chris Reykdal released a 12-minute video for parents, students and community members addressing key questions and concerns about reopening schools.
  • OSPI released an FAQ document that provides additional information for districts to consider as they decide how to reopen their schools.
  • WSSDA Branch Directors presented a PowerPoint on the Role of Board Members in Reopening Schools.
Recorded 6/18/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld DACA, which WSSDA has publicly supported.
  • The Cares Act is set to deliver $220 million to Washington state with 90% going to districts based on their Title 1 formula, and 10% going to OSPI. The Office of Financial Management (OFM) has released 80% of each district’s allocation and OSPI will deliver those funds to districts in their July apportionment. OFM has yet to release 98% of the money intended for OSPI. If OSPI gets their Cares Act funding, they’ve committed to using it for the benefit of all districts, particularly to support internet connectivity.
  • As you have conversations with your local legislators, you (school directors) may want to ask about why OSPI funding was held back by OFM.
  • Want to call your attention to the fact that WSSDA’s model resolution 1320R had an end date embedded in it. The resolution allowed superintendents to temporarily operate outside of existing policy and procedure for the sake of urgent business related to COVID-19. Please note that end date, which means the force of the resolution ends June 19.
Recorded 5/28/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Governor’s Graduation video, including special guests and celebrities, is available for district’s use in graduation ceremonies.
  • The health-related COVID data from the Department of Health is currently provided in age groups, one of which is 0-19. WSSDA has asked for DOH to provide data broken down by age and county.
  • The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) is considering how recommendations from the National Federation of High Schools impacts decisions to reopen school facilities for recreational use. Athletic Directors (ADs) and coaches are reminded that campuses are closed for athletic use and activities due to the Stay at Home, Stay Healthyorder through at least June 19th. Additional direction from the Governor will be necessary for any reopening. (Mick Hoffman, WIAA)
  • The National Federation of High Schools has provided guidance for how athletics and activities should proceed. In Washington, fall and winter coaches can start training virtually. Recommendations will include activities, such as arts and music, in future guidance. (Mick Hoffman, WIAA)
  • The next edition of Policy and Legal News will be released this week with provisions related to paying employees with public funds and signing documents remotely, as well as future OPMA considerations.
Recorded 5/21/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • There are many unknowns and we recognize that there are many concerns, frustrations, and questions among school directors. We wish we had more answers. In the meantime, email if you’d like to share your frustrations, concerns, and questions. Tim will weave your questions and the responses in future networking calls and other communications.
  • Consider what has been going well and what you have learned that can be shared and applied to future decision-making.
  • The CDC released guidance for consideration in re-opening schools nationwide. These guidelines are in advance of Washington State guidance and requirements. Districts should consider these recommendations in their discussions for next school year while also waiting to make definitive re-opening plans until Washington state guidance is provided.
  • WSSDA networking calls will include more guest speakers and panelists to share perspectives related to continuous learning, leading during difficult times, and supports for you and your role as school directors.
Recorded 5/18/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA) Recorded 5/11/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Several lawsuits have been filed against the state and/or Governor to re-open schools.
  • The CARES Act estimates have been released showing the amount of money that each district in Washington will receive. The dollars are one-time only so should not be committed to reoccurring expenses. There is no supplant language in the CARES Act which means that states could offset these funds with budget reductions in other areas.
Recorded 5/7/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • WSSDA will continue to advocate for local governance on the upcoming OSPI-led workgroup to address options and conditions for reopening schools in the fall. The workgroup will be comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders including six WSSDA representatives (staff and board). The workgroup will convene for its first meeting in May 2020. We will update you on progress throughout its development. WSSDA worked with other stakeholders to ensure diverse district representation from across the state.
  • The Governor’s four-phased approach to safe reopening does not include school districts (addressed on page 5 of the Safe Start WA Plan). According to the Governor’s office, additional plans for a phased approach to restarting educational activities are under development.
Recorded 5/4/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Increases in E-rate funds are being considered at the Federal level. WSSDA will keep directors informed on progress and continue to advocate for these investments in technology and access.
  • Governor Inslee has released a phased approach (page 6) to reopening businesses, industry, and communities. Phase 1 begins on May 5thbut the dates and plans are fluid.
Recorded 4/30/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • CTE questions will be fielded on a case-by-case basis by OSPI. Your questions can be directed to
  • Secretary DeVos has opened grants to state agencies (OSPI) for technology innovations responding to COVID. If Washington is awarded these funds they would most likely be used for future planning and implementation.
Recorded 4/23/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Council of Presidents posted a FAQ for students and families regarding admissions to Washington’s public colleges and universities.
  • The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers have new guidance on how to treat incoming students impacted by school closures due to COVID-19. Their guidance is that college credit and placement may be offered based strictly on HS course grades, since some testing has been cancelled. The concern is that if they all get As, they may be placed in a course they are unprepared for. (Sandy Hayes, Northshore)
  • E-clippings will continue to be WSSDA’s conduit for communicating news and updates and will return to its standard daily schedule from Monday through Friday.
  • The position proposal window is now open through May 20th and available for school board members to submit a proposed amendment to an existing position or a proposed new position. Please contact Marissa Rathbone, Director of Government Relations, at or Abigail Westbrook, Director of Policy and Legal, at if you have questions or are considering a submission.
Recorded 4/20/20
  • Superintendent Reykdal’s weekly video from 4/18/20 shares information about grading practices and supports for students with disabilities. (OSPI YouTube Channel)
Recorded 4/16/20
  • The window is currently open to submit new or amended positions to support WSSDA’s advocacy platform. If you are interested in a submission, you can access the form on our website. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/13/20
  • WSSDA will be issuing Covid-19 graduation policy tools for school boards on Tuesday, April 14. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
Recorded 4/9/20 Recorded 4/6/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Governor Inslee issued a proclamation extending the school closure to the end of the school year.
  • ACT/SAT dates have been extended into late spring.
  • Students planning on taking AP tests may still be able to do so from home.
  • WSSDA’s e-Clippings is running seven days a week and is a way for members to stay informed.
  • Superintendent Reykdal is developing a weekly video series where he answers questions from the field and provides relevant updates.
Recorded 4/2/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • OSPI is requiring districts to submit data related to school meals and childcare. School districts are not currently required to submit continuous learning plans to OSPI.
  • If the school closure extends through the rest of the year, OSPI may provide further guidance on continuous learning expectations.
Recorded 3/31/20
  • While the current expectation is that schools will return to regular operations on April 27th, school districts should prepare for closures through the end of the school year in the case that the Governor decides to extend school closures. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Boards should be focusing now on how best to communicate messages to the community, including how to respond questions from the media and/or public. Effective communication is key to leading the system toward solutions and keeping calm in the midst of uncertain times. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Some districts are utilizing their 3-D printers and open-source coding to manufacture PPE for their local medical communities (certain specifications for printers are required to do this work). Here is a link to a web site with NIH-approved designs. Garchow, WSSDA and Maggie Tai Tucker, Mercer Island)
Recorded 3/30/2020
  • If school districts have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to donate that is not needed for those providing childcare and other essential services, the Educational Service Districts (ESDs) will accept any sizes. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • In addition to being a board member, I also do recreation mapping and have created a map with resources. If there is any information that districts would like to add, I am happy to include it. (Right now, when you click on a county you get information about the county emergency page and conditions, we could add that for the county. Or we can add food distribution areas with information - as we have done with the Ellensburg school district point at Morgan Middle School.) (Jennifer Hackett, Ellensburg)
Recorded 3/26/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • We are reinventing learning – and effectively in a matter of days, when we would otherwise be making changes like these after months and years.
  • April elections will continue as scheduled unless counties decide to postpone; the County Commissioners of Stevens, Snohomish and King Counties have requested a delay. We are waiting to hear if the election officials in those counties are going to take action on those requests.
  • State Board of Education will share draft rules addressing graduation requirements and waivers on April 1st and public comment must be received no later than Tuesday, April 7th. Learn more at State Board will defer to the Local Education Agencies (LEA) to determine if they will submit a district waiver to SBE to provide for student graduation waivers. Local school boards will need to consider waivers for any local graduation requirements. (Patty Wood, SBE)
Recorded 3/25/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Calm, consistent leadership is paramount. Self-care and care of others is essential if we are to be effective.
  • Your entire board can join these calls as they are informational and not conducting official business on behalf of your districts.
  • State Board of Education (SBE) is working on credit waivers for 12th grade/senior students for the purpose of graduation requirements. See Thursday's SBE board meeting.
  • Review OSPI guidance and Governor’s proclamations regarding all topics below for clarity and direction.
  • It is imperative that superintendents and school board teams have talking points and stay on topic when communicating with members of the community and media.
Recorded 3/24/20 
  • School districts should prepare to return to school on April 27th and also prepare for the possibility that school closures will continue through the end of the school year. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The State Board of Education is currently considering changes to the credit waivers for graduation requirements, and WSSDA is working closely with SBE to complete this task. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Secretary of State has recommended to the Governor that the April elections be canceled. The Governor has not made a decision; WSSDA has expressed and will continue to express concern regarding the impact to school districts, namely levy impact and possible reductions in force. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 6/4/20
  • The model policies on competency-based credits were provided by WSSDA to school districts in May. The SBE is considering how to continue to support district interest in offering competency-based credits in the short and long term.
  • SBE has created the Mastery Based Learning (MBL) Work Group to examine current and future work in this area.
  • SBE staff is interested in learning what is working well for you and any approaches you’d be willing to share as models. If so, please email
Recording 5/28/20
  • A joint letter on dual credit HS grading and running start has been released by the OSPI, Washington Council of Presidents, Washington Student Achievement Council, and Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.
Recorded 5/14/2020
  • Department of Health guidance on graduation options in line with Governor’s Stay at Home, Stay Healthy The guidance includes specific ideas that can be implemented with considerations for safety. Some of the guidance is organized by phases one and two.
  • If you are considering any graduation options outside of the guidance provided in the DOH document, please consult with your insurance company and the attorney that represents your district to discuss liability. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 5/11/20 (add to grading tab) Recorded 4/30/20
  • OSPI has released an FAQ document on the Class of 2020 graduation requirements and approaches.
  • Eatonville will hold a ceremony where and when we can. The kids deserve it. (Jeff Lucas, Eatonville)
  • Next week Sequim is handing out cap and gowns during a drive by. (Jim Stoffer, Sequim)
Recorded 4/16/20 (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • WSSDA’s graduation policy tools are available on our website. The tools include a Model Resolution 2419R – Emergency Waiver of High School Graduation CreditsResolution. Boards are not required to adopt the resolution; however, we recommend that you do adopt the resolution as it recognizes board authority and acknowledges the good faith of districts to provide seniors with the opportunity to earn or waive credits toward graduation.
  • Seven policies and six procedures for different content areas on competency-based credits are also available. These policies and procedures will be available in perpetuity.
  • Revisions to Model Policy 2413 – Equivalency Credit and Model Policy andProcedure 2418 – Waiver of High School Graduation Credits are also available to round out the suite of graduation policy tools.
  • Boards are allowed to waive first reading and move to adoption of any and all of the tools (resolution, policies and procedures) so that districts can respond expeditiously to a growing sense of urgency.
Recorded 4/13/20
  • School boards should now be reviewing and making decisions about credit waivers for graduating seniors per SBE emergency rules. Applications are already being received and will be reviewed on April 21st. (Peter Maier, SBE)
  • AWSP has posted a “virtual graduation toolkit” on their website.
Recorded 4/9/20
  • The State Board of Education (SBE) adopted emergency rules for credit waivers and graduation requirements on April 8, 2020. An FAQ document on this topic is available on the SBE website. Districts may apply for the emergency waiver now. The SBE will meet on April 21stfrom 8 - 9:30 am to approve the first batch of applications. SBE Executive Director, Randy Spalding, will review the remaining applications moving forward. (Patty Wood, SBE)
  • WSSDA will soon release a model board resolution to identify a district’s intent to seek emergency credit waivers for graduation; the resolution sunsets at the same time as the emergency rules. Boards are not required to adopt the resolution. Additional model policies, similar to 2409 on World Language Competency, will be developed for other content areas so that boards may adopt policies to allow competency-based credits for Health and Physical Education, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Environmental and Sustainability Education, Social Studies, The Arts, and Science. Districts must provide a good-faith effort to help students earn the credit(s) needed to graduation for the courses where they were determined to be “on track”. (Abigail Westbrook, WSSDA)
  • Communities are organizing graduation “parades” made up of cars being driven by parents/guardians and diplomas handed to students in their cars by administrators. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Staff and administrators are developing banners to put in the yards of graduating seniors. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • District is hosting a student “town hall” to develop ideas for graduation ceremony. (Deborah Krishnadasan, Peninsula)
  • District hosted a virtual town hall to generate ideas from students on ideas for continuous learning, graduation ceremonies, waivers, etc. (Carolyn Watson, Bellevue)
  • National Adopt a Senior 2020 Project – Facebook Page allows anyone to sponsor a senior who has posted a profile by sending letters, gifts, and inspirational items in order to honor the senior and recognize their graduation. (Lori Oviatt, Riverview)
  • There was a piece on NPR about a church service held at a drive-in theater ... the Rodeo Drive-In in Bremerton has a capacity of 1,000 cars split among three screens. (Maggie Tai Tucker, Mercer Island)
Recorded 4/6/20
  • State Board of Education will release updated draft rules for public comment sometime today (April 6, 2020). The proposed draft rules will maintain maximum flexibility for school boards to address credit waivers. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
    • Feedback to draft rules must be received via email by Tuesday, April 7th at noon. SBE will meet to adopt rules on Wednesday, April 8th. (MJ Bolt, SBE)
Recorded 4/2/20 (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • The Association of Washington School Principals is developing a virtual graduation toolkit that schools will be able to access for free to help districts determine alternative means for graduation celebrations – should school be closed for the rest of the school year.
  • On a call this week, some members of higher education suggested the concept of a uniform designator on high school transcripts for the current school year.
  • WSSDA is developing tools to support school board action related to SBE’s upcoming emergency rules on credit waivers. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Consider if graduation ceremonies might be able to occur in June or July. (Student Representative, Olympia)
Recorded 3/31/20
  • To solidify expectations for seniors as soon as possible, SBE predicts that draft rules will be available for public review and comment by April 3rd. Public comment on the draft rules will need to be submitted to SBE by April 7th. The process for submitting public comment will be included with the release of the draft rules. Rules will provide some flexibility for districts to determine how to meet requirements. This rulemaking will apply only to students anticipated to graduate in the 2019-2020 school year. (MJ Bolt, SBE)
Recorded 3/30/20
  • April 8th is the next meeting of State Board of Education; the agenda intends to include the adoption of rules to allow waivers for high school graduation. Draft rules for this purpose will be available in the days ahead for review and public comment no later than April 7th. SBE understands the urgency for decision-making. The focus on the rules is to provide flexibility and prioritize giving the ability for seniors to graduate. (MJ Bolt, SBE)
Recorded 3/25/20 
  • School districts may consider a “credit/no credit” related to grading. Some districts will move toward pass/fail (based on OSPI guidance).
Recorded 3/24/20
  • Students can receive a Pass/Fail in place of a grade to help seniors to earn credits necessary for graduation. See additional guidance from OSPI and SBE. (Dave Mastin, OSPI)
  • Considerations for credit requirements, graduation ceremonies, learning approaches, and budgets will be forthcoming. (Tim, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • SBE is working on emergency rulemaking that will address graduation waivers – stay tuned.
Recorded 3/19/20
  • State Board of Education (SBE) is working closely with OSPI to address the needs of senior class for 2020. Schools will need to apply for waiver from SBE. (Patty Wood, SBE)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • SBE amended the COVID bill last week in the legislature to allow them to temporarily change their graduation rulemaking in light of this pandemic. See March 26 & April 8 meetings. (Mary Fertakis, SBE)
Recorded 5/18/20
  • Coaching Contracts/Stipends:
    • The high school coaches that had already started their seasons before school closures were paid 1/3 of their stipend. The middle school coaches that had not yet started their seasons so they were not paid their stipend. (Supt. Brewer, Port Angeles)
    • Steilacoom paid stipends through March 13th. (Melissa Beard, Tumwater)
    • We paid all coaches that we had entered into a contract with. (Natalie Hagglund, Stanwood-Camano)
    • Evergreen paid coaches for work done, but did not (could not) pay out for work not done. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen)
    • Central Kitsap paid coaches this spring if they started the season. Middle school never started.  Coaches worked virtually with athletes to connect and work on individual conditioning plans. (Jeanie Schulze, Central Kitsap)
Recorded 4/2/2020
  • School boards should endeavor to recognize district staff for their exceptional efforts. (Cindy McMullen, Central Valley)
Recorded 3/31/20
  • The Washington Association of Superintendents and Administrators (WASA) is curating MOUs from districts throughout the state. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/26/20 
  • If you currently have open contracts and your unions are requesting to bargain, you cannot refuse to bargain. If you are going to bargain, you should use virtual meetings to do so. Understand that budgets are likely to change in the months and year ahead. As such, consider those potential changes and the impacts that may have on your ability to add any additional recurring costs to your CBA’s. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
Recorded 3/24/20
  • Most school districts are seeing staff stepping up to respond to this challenge. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • It is OSPI’s expectation that district operations, including payroll, maintenance, IT services, and others, will continue. In adherence to the Governor’s proclamation, most, if not all, of your staff should be teleworking. If you have staff coming into your facilities, they must continue following social distancing and hygiene guidelines. (Chris Reykdal, OSPI)
Recorded 3/23/20
  • Employees are expected to be engaged in meaningful work, if at all possible. (Tim Garchow, WSSDA)
  • Districts are encouraged to wait to make any agreements with employees (such as an MOU) until decisions are finalized about expectations and further guidance has been released.
  • Guidance on certified staff was distributed by OSPI on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Recorded 3/19/20
  • Evergreen School District has developed an MOU with teachers, as well as an FAQ document, that can be shared. (Rob Perkins, Evergreen SD)
Recorded 3/18/20
  • Clover Park has signed MOUs with all our bargain units. (Paul Wagemann, Clover Park SD)
  • Refer to the Employment Security Department of Washington state.
Recorded 8/6/20 Layoff or furlough costs
  • The costs tied to layoffs or furloughing staff is being discussed with legislators regularly.
  • We are aware of the issues of funds linked to transportation.
  • We also know many meals are distributed by bus drivers.
  • Legislators (Claire Wilson) are working on the transportation/funding issue.
Loss of revenue from dis-enrollment
  • Though the loss of some students to other districts, online learning, or home-schooling is possible, districts should continue to provide the best programs they can to keep their students and families engaged and enrolled.
  • $8.8 million dollars of CARES act funds has been released.
  • OSPI is working to provide one year of internet service to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
  • Though this does not help ALL students, 92% of households have the cable connection capability to support internet connection.
Childcare Models for Fall Reopening - Alliance of YMCAs & Boys/Girls Clubs
  • Donna Christensen (YMCA)
    • The YMCA is partnering with schools for before and after school care.
    • They work to meet the needs students, especially academically, by
      • Providing Wifi capability
      • Ensuring students have their school materials
      • Assisting them in working on those materials
    • Some YMCA staff have assisted schools with getting food to students using their unused vans.
    • To help get care in rural areas the YMCA has
      • Recruited childcare workers in rural areas
      • Started new after school programs using local facilities
      • ChildCareAwareWA is an organization that can assist rural school districts with identifying the nearest childcare providers who may partner with districts.
    • YMCA care centers are ensuring safety with:
      • Consistent small grouping of children
      • Temperature checks
      • Following all health department guidelines
    • Katya Miltimore (Boys & Girls Club)
      • The current issues centers are facing at this time are
        • Gaining access to facilities
        • Accessing maintenance and sanitation staff
      • Districts should consider
        • Using para educator support for school work in their partnered centers
        • The educational justice and equity implications of their decisions
          • Finding a partner to help provide care can help those children most in need get academic support.
        • Ron McHenry (Boys & Girls Club)
          • Boys & Girls Clubs are look into hybrid and partial day options.
          • To best serve their students districts should be responsive to their care partners.
            • This can help ensure
              • Students are getting the right kind of academic support
              • Children within the same districts can stay
            • Other considerations
              • Consider trying not to have all students engaged at the same time because often times high school students are watching their younger siblings.
              • Think about union considerations when contemplating childcare partnerships.
Staff on Site
  • There has been no state-wide decision on how to approach having staff work from school buildings while providing online instruction.
  • Districts should consider if asking staff to appear on site is in line with the standard working conditions of their collective bargaining agreement.
  • WSSDA suggests looking to your legal counsel and closely examining bargaining agreements when making decisions on having staff onsite.
DOH Metrics on Reopening
  • The Washington Department of Health (DOH) has released a set of statewide metrics outlining their recommendations for in-person learning and extracurricular activities based on the infection rate for each county. DOH and the governor’s office strongly recommend school districts follow the metrics when making decisions for the upcoming school year. (Decision Tree document.)
  • The DOH metrics identify counties in one of three categories: high, moderate or low risk.
  • Governor Inslee made it clear districts are not legally required to follow these metrics, but he “expects” them to be followed.
DOH Metrics - Insurance and Liability
  • Insurance companies strongly recommend districts follow the DOH Metrics on Reopening.
  • While the districts are not legally required to follow the DOH Metrics, insurance companies suggest they do. If a district chooses to provide in-person learning and extra-curricular activities contrary to the DOH recommendations, insurance companies have informed us that they cannot guarantee all claims will be covered.
  • If district insurance does not cover a claim any costs associated with that claim would have to be paid using their operating budget, possibly creating a larger budgeting issue.
DOH Metrics Athletics
  • Pertaining to athletics, insurance providers have stated that having students/parents sign waivers will not be a sufficient defense if there were to be a claim or court case.
  • WSSDA is unsure of the overlap between the DOH Metrics and the current WIAA guidelines and suggests districts follow the DOH Metrics with regard to athletics and extracurricular activities.
Recorded 7/16/20 Rob Perkins: Evergreen School District has developed three 5-day models:
  1. In-building
  2. Hybrid
  3. Fully online
Public input has been very mixed with concern that information about education delivery options has been too complicated. Also, staff are saying we can’t know exactly what we can do until we get closer to starting instruction. Our plans are posted online. Sandy Hayes In Northshore School District we’re seeing the same issues raised as cited by Evergreen SD. We have a multi-stage plan ranging from 100% online to 100% in-building. This gives us flexibility to pick the model that matches the current situation when instruction is set to begin. Our plans should be posted online next week. Cindy Kelly In Port Angeles School District a 50-person committee made our 86-page plan, now adopted, which offers a mix of options. Port Angeles sent out a survey for parents to pick the model that works for their families. We have issued an RFP for childcare services to offer services in all our schools. Dona Sinclair In Washougal School District we’re hearing that grandparents will be caregivers because parents will be out working. This fact is causing tension in the community. Deborah Kilgore In Edmonds School District we have an AA, BB model for in-person instruction. In other words, we’ll offer two different options with 2 deep-cleaning days a week. We’re also prepping a 100% online option. Jim Kowalski In Davenport School District we surveyed parents and only 7% said they want to keep their kids home for safety reasons. While 93% look forward to in-person instruction, they have lots of questions, especially on masks. We have feedback from a summer program for elementary kids that it took a couple days, but they got used to wearing masks and adoption/practice has improved. Rebecca Stillings In Rainer School District we surveyed staff and parents. We’re learning toward an AB schedule, but trying to stay nimble to adapt to conditions as they evolve. Question to Tim Garchow: Are reopening plans tied to county reopening phases? Answer: No, but certain things, like athletics, might be. Maggie Tai Tucker In Mercer Island School District we are thinking that when we need to divide kids into groups by grade we will do it by alphabet across schools, hoping that this will keep things simpler for families with kids at multiple levels. E.g. first half of alphabet goes in on Mon and Weds and second half goes in on Tues and Thurs., or whatever. So siblings will have same days at school and at home. Amy Huntley In Ocean Beach School District our elementary teachers will be doing a morning Zoom with the kids who are on their home days which will be done with the whole class (both the A and B group) to set the agenda for the day. Because some subjects are not going to be happening at school, we are planning to have some of the specialists work with online students. Judy Schwab Mukilteo School District all elementary students will attend schools physically in Mukilteo. We are lucky to have the space to accommodate them observing the safety requirements. Distance learning will be available for all students who will not return to school physically.  In surveys our parents were equally divided about returning to schools; those who, for some reason or another, will not send their students and those who want them back in school full-time physically as long as the district adheres to the safety requirements. Christine Chew Bellevue School District is exploring broadcasting our classes so off-site students can attend all or part of the classes. We are exploring instructional strategies that make things feasible/effective. We are also exploring partnering onsite and off-site students. Stefanie Jesperson In Union Gap School District teachers can record their lessons when they are teaching for the other cohorts to watch. Recorded 7/2/20
  • We expect OSPI to send out a template for school reopening plans to superintendents during the week of July 13. District reopening plans are due to OSPI at least 2 weeks before classes start. — Tim Garchow
  • We’re trying to get some videos to share that we heard some districts are making. — Tim Garchow
  • In Bellevue, we are broadcasting our reopening steering committee planning meetings so the community can listen and also send in questions. And then we post all the info after the meeting. —Christine Chew
  • Yakima is creating a micro website dedicated to reopening. — Kristen Fitterer
  • Yakima has been convening stakeholder groups with approximately 150-200 people participating. The wide-ranging spectrum of views expressed by parents has been remarkable. — Trevor Green
  • In addition to weekly emails with updates on the process, Shoreline School District staff will be holding a series of virtual town halls with students, families (in English and Spanish), and staff.—Sara Betnel
  • Sequim School District is holding community townhalls and the board has weekly meetings with the reopening workgroup. The district is using its strategic plan to help guide decision-making. — Jim Stoffer
  • Port Angeles has a 52-member group working on reopening the plan. —Cindy Kelly
  • Edmonds is broadcasting workgroup meetings. —Deborah Kilgore
  • Some districts Include local daycares in decision-making.—Tim Garchow
  • We have an advisory committee with representation from parents, students, communities of color, teachers, unions, and the board. — Deborah Kilgore
  • We’re holding meetings with key communicators from each school to address 3 questions: what would a successful start of the 2020-2021 school year look like for your family? What would help your student the most in a 2.0 distance learning environment? How do we reach families who are less like to engage through a survey? Using feedback from the group to inform decision-making. — Judy Schwab
  • We’re hearing positive things about districts using PTAs to gather info and engage parents. In Kent, for example, they’re making sure workgroups have staff and community representation. We’re hearing good things about the process in Kent, that it’s making people feel well engaged and informed.— Marie Sullivan
Health screening:
  • We have discovered that you cannot screen with touchless until they are acclimated to the environment, so we are looking at screening in the classroom. —Amy Huntley
Recorded 6/18/20 (WSSDA Staff)
  • As much as possible, we want kids back in our school buildings, but we have to do it in a way that is safe for students and staff. The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) have release a set of requirements that all school districts must comply with when creating their re-opening plans for 2020. If districts are able to comply with all components of the requirements within their existing facilities and budgets for all students and staff then they can open with full onsite, daily participation in the fall. If they aren’t able to do so, then they must determine the maximum number of students and staff they can have on their campuses at any one time while still meeting the DOH and L&I requirements. Then they must determine the most appropriate instruction delivery model to meet the needs of their students. The guidance from OSPI outlines multiple options and considerations for districts to do so.
  • Local school boards will be required to pass a resolution approving their district’s re-opening plan and attesting that the plan meets the requirements outlined by DOH and L&I. WSSDA will develop a model resolution for use by boards.
  • WSSDA highly recommends all school boards review and are familiar with the requirements outlined by DOH and L&I. See pages 16-29 of OSPI’s Guidance on Reopening Schools (link). DOH and L&I reserve the right to change the rules and guidance as conditions dictate.
Board Roles
    • Read the guidance to understand what is required of districts.
    • We encourage boards to focus on how to govern, advocate, and lead.
    • Govern — Review public comment procedure. Stay informed on OPMA. Review your calendar. Think about changes needed to board policies for the new school year.
    • Advocate — All board members should become familiar with WSSDA positions and priorities in order to reflect them within your board, community, and when asked to communicate with legislators. Please connect with your legislators to build relationships, understand what each other are struggling with, and how support can be provided. Know projected additional costs, how your non-basic education dollars are being used for COVID-19 related expenditures, and how they are addressing equity issues. WSSDA can assist with scheduling meetings or even join you in meetings. WSSDA can also help with making talking points for meeting with legislators.
    • Lead — Your community is looking to you to lead now as we navigate uncertain times. Be honest, calm, and encouraging. Review guiding documents like equity policy, strategic plans, board/district goals, and how work in your role can support and facilitate those.
Recorded 6/11/20
  • The OSPI Reopening Schools Planning Guide is available for review. District staff and board members should consider reading the document in its entirely. A few of the many details from that guide are provided below:
    • Schools should plan to provide as much face-to-face instruction as possible. Students most significantly impacted by remote learning should be prioritized for face-to-face instruction.
    • School districts will need to create a schedule that will work best for their students, staff, and community.
    • Districts should consider flexible days for the 2020-21 calendar.
    • School districts must work with their local health departments to determine when schools may be able to open.
    • Students and staff will be expected to wear masks and maintain social distancing requirements.
    • School districts must develop a Plan A and Plan B for reopening schools, considering what might happen if schools are expected to close again once the school year starts due to a resurgence in the virus.
Recorded 6/4/20
  • OSPI continues to facilitate the Re-Opening Washington Schools workgroup and anticipates that preliminary guidance will be released for district consideration on or about June 8th. A menu of options for districts to consider will be provided. There will be some requirements and some options for consideration in re-opening.
  • OSPI is working with Department of Health to determine and communicate expectations for safe re-opening of schools.
  • WSSDA is represented throughout the workgroup and subgroups.
Recorded 5/22/20
  • Next Thursday, the WSSDA representatives on the OSPI Re-opening School Work Group will be meeting as part of a smaller tactical group of elected official to discuss the State and District level policy consideration of reopening schools in the fall.  President: Brenda Rogers, President-Elect: Rick Jansons, Board Member: LeeAnne Riddle, Board Member: Greta White, Board Member: Harlan Gallinger, and Executive Director: Tim Garchow will be joining the Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees as well as other legislators and elected officials for this work.
Recorded 5/14/20
  • OSPI’s Re-Opening Washington Schools for 2020-21 Stakeholder Workgroup met on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. The agenda included a presentation from DOH with epidemiological data and considerations for the future. School board members were represented among the 100+ members of the workgroup. Some scenarios for re-opening the schools in 2020-21 were considered and discussed. WSSDA is advocating for local governance in determining the scenario that works best for them. Many more decisions are yet to be made, there will be somethings that are required by all districts and somethings that will be a local decision, so it is highly recommended that school districts wait to finalize any plans for the fall until the work of this group is complete.
Recorded 8/6/20 Student Board Rep. – Suicide Prevention Workgroup Report Logan Endres (WSSDA)
    • The Suicide Prevention Workgroup, consisting of 14 students from 13 school districts, is focusing on engaging student voice to support the implementation of SHB 2589.
    • In the next two weeks the workgroup plans to share their recommendations on how to design students ID cards with the new required information, how districts can begin to talk about suicide awareness, and other suicide prevention programming.
    • Logan’s presentation is to be shared on strategies in the field.
Sierra (Riverview SD)
    • Sierra’s main take-aways from the workgroup thus far
      • School districts need to destigmatize discussing mental health and suicide.
      • Districts should have open communication with their students in mental health matters and actions.
      • Districts should get student input on what actions could be taken to help support their mental health.
Abby (Port Angeles SD)
        • Abby’s main take-aways from the workgroup thus far
          • School districts should offer training to help students understand their own mental health, recognize mental health symptoms in others, and learn what to do if a peers talks about suicide.
          • School districts need to destigmatize discussing mental health and suicide, even be welcoming to the conversation while openly provide mental health resources.
Recorded 7/23/20 (Mick Hoffman, Executive Director of WIAA)
  • Our intent is to provide opportunities for students wherever possible without complicating the work of school boards.
  • We took fall season and pushed moderate and high-risk sports into the spring.
  • Our decisions and guidelines are being developed based on information from the Washington State Department of Health and the National Federation of High Schools and other sources.
  • All dates are currently “in pencil” as information is continually reviewed and new questions raised. Our board is committed to meeting as often as possible to put forth clear guidelines. 2:50
Q:  Is there any timeframe for considering indoor sports for moderate to high risk? A: All sports will start sometime after Jan 4. Q: If low-risk sports are in season, but a county is not in a phase that allows competition, then what? A: In part, it depends on how many schools are needed to be willing to participate to hold events. We’re doing our best to be creative and provide opportunities no matter where a county is at. Q: If a district has an outbreak, then what? A: Initial steps are dictated by WA DOH guidance and then local health officials and administrators evaluate all available information to decide if individuals or whole teams get quarantined. Some studies just coming out regarding equipment use and safe usage. We still evaluating the information and developing guidelines. Recorded 7/16/20 (Randy Spaulding, SBE) “For the 2020-2021 school year, “instructional hours” as defined in RCW 28A.150.205 are not limited to in-person educational services. Local education agencies may count as instructional hours towards the minimum district-wide annual average those hours of educational activity planned by and under the direction of school district staff that are delivered through learning modalities which may include but are not limited to distance learning, hybrid classrooms, rotating schedules, or other methods that allow for delivery of basic education services during the COVID-19 epidemic.”
  • Q/A: Will funding be impacted by attendance? A: We’ve heard that OSPI intends to provide apportionment in the same form as usual. Based on projected attendance initially and then checked against actual attendance in the fall. OSPI has stated that attendance will still be required and measured for engagement monitoring, but not in connection with apportionment. —Tim
  • Q: Will off days in the hybrid models be counted toward instructional days? A: Some educational activities would need to occur but they don’t have to be “synchronous.” For example, independent work at home assigned by teachers will count for days not in-building or scheduled online.
  • Q: Anything new on Grading? A: That falls outside of SBE’s purview. Decisions on that will sit with districts, which must include information about grading in the reopening plans they submit to OSPI.


These notes provide a conduit for WSSDA’s members to share information. It may include legal information but does not constitute legal advice. Individual comments are date stamped for reference and context. Please note that WSSDA makes no guarantee that the information shared is or remains current. These notes are consolidated and do not represent all comments received. WSSDA retains exclusive control of these notes and reserves the right to edit, consolidate, and/or delete comments. WSSDA will discontinue these notes when/as it sees fit. Nothing about these notes should be construed as constituting any type of forum for public expression.