RETURN TO LEARN 2021-22
Dear Chelan Families,
Lake Chelan School District students and staff are moving forward, despite Governor Inslee’s Oct. 18th vaccine mandate deadline. Fortunately, there will be no disruptions to classes and academic programs as planned for the 2021-22 school year. After several months of uncertainty, as a result of the Governor’s Order, we are in a good place.
I attribute this positive outcome to the professionalism and the cooperative spirit put forth by the school district’s staff of 200 plus employees. I know that I speak for our entire school board when I say that I am not surprised by the staff’s collective decision to prioritize student learning. I couldn’t be happier and more grateful that our students will continue to benefit from daily school life… it’s full speed ahead for our students at all levels!
Barry P. DePaoli, Superintendent
Lake Chelan School District
Dear Parents and Families –
As we are about to begin our fifth week of classes, I want to thank all of you for working together with us to help support a healthy and safe return to school. We continue to experience high rates of transmission of COVID-19 throughout our valley and the region which causes us concern. I want you to know that we are well organized and prepared to respond to the changing context and needs of our students, staff and families.
More than ever, we are committed to keeping our schools open for in-person learning, and we need your help in this endeavor. Following is a list of ways you can help reinforce important preventative measures to ensure that our schools remain safe for our staff and students:
● Keeping sick children home and inform the school secretary or nurse of their symptoms by calling the school directly or leaving a detailed message for the nurse or secretary
● Have your child tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms after the third or fifth day of illness. Immediately inform the school if your child’s test is positive for COVID-19.
● If your child is quarantined due to direct exposure, you can reduce the quarantine period by providing evidence of a COVID-19 test (refer to Screening Flow Chart- English / Spanish).
● Reinforce proper mask wearing, covering both mouth and nose. When followed, this mitigation factor together with proper distancing can eliminate the need to quarantine
Overall, our schools have been doing a great job of minimizing the impact of COVID-19. Although we have had some students and staff test positive, to the best of our knowledge, none of these cases occurred on school campus and therefore no evidence of school-based transmission.
Given that rates remain high in our valley and the county we need your help and cooperation. Our staff are doing everything possible to minimize transmission and ensure that we remain open for in-person instruction. I know that by working together with our parents and the community we can continue to provide a safe environment for students and staff so that we keep our schools open and all programs running.
How is LCSD working to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant?
Together, we have been able to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our schools by using effective, layered preventive strategies including masks, regular hand washing, daily cleaning, physical distancing, enhanced ventilation, testing, vaccines and contact tracing. These strong protocols will continue, and we will be adding diagnostic COVID-19 testing.
LCSD is partnering with the Health Commons Project and WA State Department of Health (WA DOH) to provide free, in school COVID-19 testing for students and staff who have been exposed to COVID or have COVID-like symptoms. Testing will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as minimize lost instructional time for students that need to quarantine. In order for students who have symptoms to be tested they must have parental consent.
LSCD is also preparing to utilize this program for athletes in sports considered high risk (Basketball and Wrestling) this winter.
High transmission rates have stretched our nurses considerably. Testing, contact tracing and communicating with parents has strained our system. The good news is that help is on the way. We are partnering with the North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) to share the costs of a part time nurse. Beginning on October 9th, we will have another nurse in the district for 2 days a week. Additionally, we have applied for a grant for a medical assistant to take on responsibilities involved in our athletic testing program.
Vaccines are a critical strategy in our fight against COVID-19 including the Delta variant. On August 18, Governor Inslee announced that the State of Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement will be extended to K-12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities. Our central office team is working with our labor partners to implement this state mandate for all our staff. Read the governor’s new directive. To learn more about Governor Inslee’s vaccination mandate, visit the frequently asked questions document on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website.
II. Contingency Planning
Planning for Increased COVID-19 Transmission in our Community
We know families and staff are concerned about the Delta variant and our unvaccinated students. We continue to work diligently with CDHD, the State, and OSPI to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school communities healthy. If COVID-19 transmission rates increase significantly in our community, our schools and the District will be affected. We are organized and prepared to respond to the changing context and needs of students, staff and families.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who determines closure of a classroom or school in response to confirmed COVID-19 cases?
The District is in partnership with Chelan-Douglas Health District (CDHD). If there is an infectious disease outbreak, including COVID-19, LCSD follows the authority of the local public health agency, CDHD.
Our team of experienced school nurses serve as the liaison to CDHD in supporting all school-related contact tracing of students or staff with COVID-19. CDHD provides guidance to the team about isolation and quarantine requirements and collaborates with the District on decisions to close classrooms or the school building due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
This last year, our students, staff, and families followed our strong health and safety protocols and as a result our school district has yet to experience any widespread outbreaks. We are committed to continuing to follow these protocols with fidelity and partnering with CDHD to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
How is the closure of a classroom or school communicated?
If a classroom or school does need to close, LCSD will work in partnership with CDHD to communicate directly to the school leader, all staff and families. Communication will be provided through a variety of channels including direct email, website alerts, translated robocalls, phone calls and texts.
If a full class needs to quarantine or a school is directed to temporarily close in response to COVID-19 transmission, how will student learning be supported?
If a full classroom or school closure is required, students will shift to the 100% remote model used during the 2020-21 school year.
How will families be informed of individual confirmed cases?
LCSD will continue to inform families whenever there is a confirmed case in their student’s classroom or if their student is exposed to someone confirmed with COVID-19 in a variety of settings including the school bus, athletics, common area, etc.
How will student learning be supported if a student or multiple students in a class need to quarantine?
A continuation of instructional support will be provided for students who need to quarantine. Classroom teachers individually, as a coordinated department or grade level team, etc. must share learning expectations with students and parents/guardians via a district-supported learning management system such as Google Classroom. Teachers will be in contact with students multiple times per week to support their learning. This support should include assignments, homework, learning objectives, required activities, and assessments, with any associated due dates, and may include links to resources. Classroom teachers may choose to supplement their communications through other modes of communication such as email, newsletters, and packets.
Classroom teachers are expected to respond to all parent/guardian and student communications within two business days when practicable, with the understanding that interpreter involvement may take longer. When students are absent for an extended period, educators will work with students and their parents/guardians to ensure they have access to the curriculum and supports that best fit their needs. For students who need additional support or enrichment, educators will identify appropriate activities and assignments to the greatest extent reasonably possible.
Who has the authority to move the entire district to 100% remote or a hybrid model (part time in-person/part time remote)?
LCSD is legally required to provide full-time, in-person learning for all interested students during the 2021-22 school year.
While the district superintendent has the authority under state law (RCW 28A.335.020 and RCW 28A.150.290(2)(a)) to close a school or schools on temporary basis in case of emergency (including epidemics), the ultimate authority for returning to a remote learning model lies with the State.
To transition LCSD to a 100% remote model would require an emergency order from the governor. To shift to a full hybrid model would require a policy change from the Office of Superintendent of Public Education (OSPI), the state education agency.
What will happen if the State or OSPI guidance changes and school districts are directed to shift instructional models?
The district would implement the 2020-21 school year 100% remote model if mandated by the State and implement components of the 2020-21 hybrid model if necessary and approved by OSPI.
Can in-person students that need to quarantine temporarily enroll in the K-5 Accelerated Education Online program?
No. The Accelerated Education Online Program is a comprehensive educational program and has been designed to support enrolled students.
Just like a physical school or program, Accelerated Education is a school community consisting of classes of students and dedicated teachers. It is not a temporary solution for students that need to quarantine. Students that need to quarantine will be supported by their assigned teacher or teachers.
The first week of school was a huge success! Thank you to all our students, staff and parents for all your efforts in helping us launch a brand-new school year. One filled with hope, excitement, and tremendous learning opportunities.
LCSD is well prepared with a solid health and safety plan and we continue to follow and implement the safeguards outlined by the WA State Department of Health. Our main goal is to maximize in-person instruction and minimize the effect of COVID-19. Even though our staff is working hard to limit the spread of the virus, we do anticipate that COVID will impact school operations and instruction.
COVID EXPOSURE & QUARANTINE
Over the course of this past week, we had only one positive case reported at Morgen Owings Elementary. Eight students were quarantined as a result of this exposure as per district protocol. Parents were informed immediately, and students should be able to return to class early next week depending on test results. This event is a reminder to all parents that it is important to understand and be prepared for possible interruptions to learning and school services during this school year. We recognize that any unplanned interruptions have a big impact on our families, and we are committed to limiting these occurrences as much as possible. We want to work closely with families to navigate challenges as they arise.
Given the current transmission rates in our valley, it is likely that we will continue to experience more cases in our schools and the community. It is extremely important for parents to keep sick children at home, monitor their symptoms and inform the school immediately. By working together we can keep exposure in our classrooms to a minimum. In the event that a COVID-19 exposure causes your child’s class or classes to be shut down, parents will be notified by their school with details and the actions that families should take.
COVID TESTING AT SCHOOL
At this time the LCSD does not have the ability to test students on site. If we do add this service to our schools, no students will be tested without parental permission. For the time being students are referred to Columbia Valley Health and Lake Chelan Health for testing purposes.
As per the Governor’s mandate, we have informed all school employees that they must be vaccinated by October 18th or seek an approved religious or medical exemption request. Since this requirement was put in place, we have received several requests from parents asking about the vaccination status of employees. Please know that the vaccination status of employees and students is considered private protected information and cannot be shared with others under any circumstances.
We look forward to welcoming your student(s) back to our schools for full-day, in-person instruction on August 31. For a list of frequently asked questions refer to the LCSD Superintendent’s Communication Update from 08.09.2021, listed below. Additional information on returning to school will be shared by your students’ school and teachers. Following is a summary of the latest information as we prepare for the return of our students.
Earlier this summer, Governor Jay Inslee announced that due to an increase in COVID-19 transmission rates and spread of the new, more contagious Delta variant in our state, that all K-12 schools are mandated by law to continue mask-wearing among students and adults inside schools regardless of vaccination status. This announcement aligns with the recent Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated recommendations for K-12 and extends the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) current guidance for reopening K-12 schools this fall. DOH has updated its guidance to reflect the new mandate (Aug.10, 2021).
While children who get COVID-19 typically have milder symptoms than adults, children do get COVID-19 and can transmit it. Severe disease is rare, but some children require hospitalization. Further, the Delta variant, which spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another compared to earlier strains, has surged to become the predominant variant in Washington. Given this, the masking decision is not a choice being left to local school boards or superintendents. Under the Governor’s proclamation schools must continue to follow this mandate as well as follow all health and safety guidance provided by the DOH, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Labor and Industries (L&I). State Superintendent Chris Reykdal issued a directive to all school district superintendents and school boards outlining mandated compliance for K-12 schools. Washington state continues to take a public health approach to COVID-19 and will reevaluate the mandate if rates decline.
VACCINATIONS The Governor expressed a sense of urgency for Washingtonians to get vaccinated to slow the spread of the disease and keep schools open. Questions about vaccination safety should be directed to your health care professional. Those who have not been vaccinated and wish to do so can make an appointment using the Vaccinate WA website.
- School nurses will access the state database to confirm student vaccination. Students or parents/guardians do not need to bring a copy to the school office
- To be considered fully vaccinated, the Lake Chelan School District is requiring each employee to provide a copy of their vaccination card or state immunization record to our Human Resource Department. Hard copies of cards and records can be sent to Human Resources or digital copies can be emailed to: Tamar Burns at: firstname.lastname@example.org
2021-22 Health & Safety Protocols for Students and Staff
NOTE: This information is subject to change and will be updated as requirements change.
The goal of the Lake Chelan School District health and safety protocols for students and staff is to minimize transmission of COVID-19 in schools and maximize in-person instruction.
Based on current (August 13, 2021) K-12 guidance from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) the following protocols are NO LONGER required/necessary:
- Daily health screener (paper fast passes or online)
- Temperature checks prior to entry into a school building
- Cohorting (grouping) of students
Required COVID Health and Safety Guidelines Students and Staff
Masking / PPE:
- All school personnel, volunteers, visitors and students are required to wear cloth face coverings, or an acceptable alternative (e.g. surgical mask or clear face shield with a drape) at school when inside, even if vaccinated.
- Staff and students are not required to wear masks while outside, regardless of vaccination status.
- Employees who submit proof of being fully vaccinated to HR may remove their mask when students are not in the room nor expected to be in the room when inside and 6 ft from other employees.
- It is recommended that all staff wear masks during PLC meetings regardless of vaccination status. During such meetings staff are to maintain 6’ from each other.
- Employees who are not vaccinated are required to wear a mask at all times when inside, unless alone in their classroom/office/workspace and children are not present or expected to be present.
- Masks may be removed to eat and drink.
- Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a face-covering are exempt from the mask requirement.
Please go to the following link to review the latest quarantine guidelines from the Chelan-Douglas Health District COVID-19 Screening Flow Chart
If you are sick, stay home. Any student or staff who reports COVID-19-like symptoms must be immediately isolated from others, sent home, and referred to diagnostic testing as soon as feasible.
- Staff who test positive or have a need for quarantine must contact HR
- Students who test positive or have a need to quarantine must contact their school nurse.
- School staff will work with parents and students to make learning accessible during quarantine.
COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing:
COVID-19 Diagnostic testing is available for staff or students who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms at the Lake Chelan Hospital Clinic and the Columbia Valley Health Clinic. The district is currently looking into the possibility of providing tests on site for staff and students.
Shared instruments will be cleaned between use. Masks will be required for students during choir and singing. View page 16 of the DOH updated guidance for performing arts specific masking requirements.
Maintaining hygiene and handwashing etiquette is important to stopping the spread of germs and viruses. Handwashing with soap and water is required after going to the bathroom, playing outside, and before eating food. If handwashing is not possible, hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol should be used.
To ensure ventilation and airflow on school buses and motor pool vehicles, windows will be cracked during operation. All passengers and drivers will wear masks. Physical distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible.
Lake Chelan Food and Nutrition Department will be serving free meals for breakfast and lunch for all students. Students will eat in cafeterias or outside (as weather permits). Students will be physically distanced to the greatest extent possible while eating. Shared food from home (i.e., cupcakes for the classroom) are not permitted. While remaining 6 feet physically distanced, staff are allowed to eat together. Students are not required to face the same direction while eating as long as 3ft of social distancing is observed.
Volunteers/Parents in Building:
Buildings are to be open to the public. Volunteers who are in the building for an educational purpose are allowed. However, classroom volunteers are not allowed in order to limit the total number of people in the classroom. Volunteers are required to follow all staff safety protocols.
School Events and Assemblies
Schools will be able to host parent events (Open house, Curriculum Nights, PTA events). Masks are required and physical distancing is recommended to the greatest extent possible. Indoor student assemblies and activities are allowed following the 3ft social distancing and masking protocols. Overnight field trips or activities are not permitted.
Staff Events, Training and Meetings
Masks are required to be worn by staff unless they have provided a copy of their vaccination card and/or state immunization record to Human Resources. If students or children are present, masks must be worn regardless of immunization status. Physical distancing of 6ft is required between staff/students and staff/staff (unless necessary for academic or safety purposes).
In PLC Meetings staff will have the following options while under COVID restrictions:
- Meet in classrooms fully masked and 6’ apart
- Meet outdoors unmasked
- Meet remotely in individual classrooms unmasked
NOTE: Anything exposure that occurs with staff that involve less than 6ft physical distancing will require staff quarantine should staff/students test positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent Communication & FAQ
The Lake Chelan School District is looking forward to reopening all schools for full-time in-person learning starting on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) document was created to share details of what students, their families, community members, and school staff can expect this year.
It is important to note that the trajectory of disease prevalence in our state may require changes in our response efforts and periodic updates to current school mandates and guidance. We will make every effort to provide the most current guidance on our website. Additional information on returning to school will be shared by your student’s school principal and teachers in the coming weeks. As we think about getting ready for school, we are excited to announce that THRIVE will be hosting the 2021 “Back to School Fair” on Sunday, August 22nd, from 1-4 pm at Mt. Goat Field parking lot. Approximately 500 back-packs filled with essential school supplies will be distributed to Chelan and Manson youth.
What will school look like this fall?
OSPI, DOH, and the Governor’s Office share the expectation that all students will have the opportunity to attend full time in-person learning (five days per week) K-12.
Will students have an online option for learning?
Yes. The Lake Chelan School District does have an option for K-12 students who choose to remain online this fall. For students K-8, the district has partnered with Accelerate Education. For parents interested in this option, please contact K.C. Knudson, Director of Teaching and Learning email@example.com. Seats are limited and will be available on a first come first serve basis. For students in grades 9-12 please contact High School principal Brad Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine if this is a good fit for your student.
Will schools be required to screen all students, staff, and visitors for symptoms?
No. For summer 2021 and the 2021–22 school year, DOH removed the requirement that schools need to screen students, staff, and visitors at entry to school buildings. Nevertheless, our schools will continue monitoring students, staff, and visitors for symptoms, and follow the protocols included in the DOH guidance for responding to someone who shows symptoms of COVID-19.
Will face coverings be required for students, staff, and visitors?
Yes. The Governor, OPSI, and DOH have made it clear that all school personnel, volunteers, visitors, and students must wear cloth face coverings regardless of vaccination status while at school, when indoors, and when riding school transportation. Staff who are verified to be fully vaccinated may be indoors without masks when students are not present or expected to be present.
What mitigation procedures will be in place to protect staff and students?
Physical Distancing: DOH recommends 3 feet of physical distancing in classrooms and 6 feet elsewhere to the greatest extent possible. The language in the guidance is flexible (i.e., “to the greatest extent possible” and “to the degree possible and reasonable”) ensuring that schools are able to provide full-time in-person instruction to every student and family who wants it. If a school needs to distance at less than 6 feet in common areas and less than 3 feet in classrooms to accommodate all students and staff, it is allowable within the guidance.
Ventilation & Disinfecting: Over the past 3 months the Lake Chelan School District has gone through a comprehensive audit of all HVAC systems and provided upgrades where necessary. Windows have been added to classrooms to increase air circulation and air scrubbers and HEPA filters have been installed in specific areas to improve overall air quality. Regular cleaning and disinfecting routines will remain in place from the previous school year.
Will the COVID Vaccine be required for eligible students in the fall of 2021?
No. The State Board of Health, who has the sole authority to set immunization requirements for students, has not discussed requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for children in school settings. However, as per DOH and CDC recommendations, we encourage vaccination among all eligible students, staff, and volunteers.
Can a local school district decide to mandate the vaccine for students, even if the state doesn’t?
No. State law (RCW 28A.210.140) provides full authority to the State Board of Health to establish the procedural and substantive requirements for immunizations for students.
Additional COVID-19 K-12 Resources:
COVID-19 guidance and resources for schools can also be found on the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website.
CDC: Schools and Child Care webpage links to a number of national public health recommendation documents for K-12 schools and childcare providers.
General COVID-19 Resources:
Dear Parents, Families and Community Members:
As we look forward to welcoming back our staff and students to the upcoming school year, I want to take this opportunity to share some important information with you regarding re-opening schools including current guidance, legal references regarding masking, and district position statements on topics on Critical Race Theory, State Training (Diversity/Equity and Inclusion) and Comprehensive Sexual Health Education.
RE-OPENING GUIDANCE FALL 2021
This past Wednesday, during a televised press release, Governor Inslee along with Lacey Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary of Health shared updated guidance for opening schools this fall. Following is a summary of the major components highlighted in the release:
All staff and students must wear face coverings/masks, regardless of vaccination status, consistent with recent recommendations from the CDC and American Pediatrics Association
Physical distancing of at least 3’ in classrooms. Distancing shall not prevent any school from offering full time in- person learning to families who want it. Distancing guidance for common areas, lunch and other settings has been simplified to support full time in-person instruction, consistent with CDC guidance
Quarantine protocols have been updated to reduce student exclusions. The close contact definition excludes students who were at least 3 feet away from an infected student when (a) both students were wearing face coverings/masks and (b) other prevention strategies were in place. Exemptions from quarantine include:
(a) Close contacts who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms,
(b) Close contacts who had confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months, have recovered and have no symptoms
Note: In both cases above, although quarantine is not required, these individuals should still watch for symptoms and get tested should symptoms develop
For more details, you can review the most current guidance from the D.O.H. for this fall HERE
LEGAL REFERENCES: MASKING
In a recent letter to board members and superintendents, State Superintendent Reykdal informed School Board Directors and Superintendents that: “By constitutional authority and RCW 28A.300.040 , one of the state Superintendent’s clear powers is, “supervision over all matters pertaining to the public schools of the state.” Apportionment amounts and timing are shaped by additional law but let me be clear: Boards or districts that intentionally disobey, dismiss, or shun an explicit law, including a Governor’s executive order, which has the power of law, will see an immediate halt to their basic education apportionment, and their federal funds that come through OSPI.”
For further clarification and legal references regarding masking requirements review this message from State Superintendent Chris Reykdal.
DISTRICT POSITION STATEMENTS:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Sexual Health Education (SHE) and Critical Race Theory (CRT) are all complex education-related issues which are currently “hot topics” in our national dialogue via both social media and the mainstream media. On the national level conversations about DEI, SHE and CRT tend to be divided along political and ideological lines, which unfortunately for most people cause more frustration and confusion.
Locally we believe that as a “learning organization” the LCSD must remain committed to ensuring that we continue to promote meaningful conversations about our curriculum with our community, our staff, and our students. To help bring greater clarity and understanding about curriculum and the issues at hand, the Superintendent, in collaboration with the LCSD Board of Directors, has prepared a brief summary explaining our position on these issues. Some of these explanations include links which offer more in-depth information on each topic. Click HERE to read in more detail the school district’s position on DEI, CRT and SHE.
Barry P. DePaoli, Superintendent