Seattle Public Schools: Coronavirus Update
information from Seattle Public Schools
Precautions and Preparations
Because the paramount priority of SPS is the health and safety of our students and staff, and to ensure we are prepared for all situations, we have emergency procedures in place, including for infectious diseases.
There are no reports of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Seattle Public Schools.
All schools remain open.
Per our procedures, we are working in partnership with Public Health - Seattle & King County as the lead agency in our coronavirus response. We will continue to follow the guidance of public health experts to ensure we are implementing the highest level of precaution and prevention.
Information about why SPS is not closing schools at this time
In addition to Public Health’s recommendation to stay open, there are several factors we are evaluating. While education is our primary responsibility, public schools are also the access point to critical social services for thousands of students and families. Many of our families rely on our schools and staff for basic needs, including regular meals, health care, and child care. If our schools shut down, vulnerable families are at a higher risk of being negatively impacted. Closing schools is a last resort and will be done with great care, transparency, and in partnership with Public Health.
The decision to exclude students or staff
If a student or staff member has had close contact with a person with lab-confirmed COVID-19, the student or staff member will be asked to go home immediately and to be quarantined for 14 days, per Public Health - Seattle & King County.
The decision to close schools
In the event a staff member or student who has been in attendance at a school site is lab-confirmed to have COVID 19, we will close the school.
How long will the school remain closed?
We will work with Public Health - Seattle & King County to determine the length of the school closure based on the unique circumstances of the case.
Providing education during school closure
Students who need to stay home due to illness will be excused. Teachers are being asked to prepare supplemental instructional materials for students who need to be out of the classroom and pre-plan weekly lessons in the event of a sudden prolonged absence.
Due to issues of equity and access, we cannot provide digital learning opportunities in lieu of in-classroom instruction.
When should a student or staff member stay home?
If students or staff experience fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, they should stay home from school and contact their health care provider immediately. Additional resource: the Washington Department of Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-525-0127.
Cleaning and disinfecting schools
Custodial staff have been directed to prioritize cleaning common and high traffic areas multiple times a day. In a normal situation, these areas would be cleaned once a day. Prioritized cleaning includes bathrooms, the lunchroom, common spaces, door handles, emergency bar on doors, etc. This means that ongoing “maintenance” or litter pick-up outside will be de-prioritized until further notice. All efforts will be made to keep students healthy and safe.
We have shared cleaning guidance with childcare, community partners, and preschools in our buildings. Our expectation is that they follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) and Public Health - Seattle & King County. Please check directly with your child’s care provider or after school program with specific cleaning and prevention questions.
Cleaning and disinfecting buses
Our school bus contractor, First Student, is adding additional cleanings as an added precaution to provide safe travel to and from school.
Many of our students rely on public transportation to get to and from school. King County Metro has announced that it will increase cleanings of high-touch areas and upgrade its protocols to help reduce risk of exposure.
School events, field trips, assemblies
School field trips, both during school time and outside of school time, are cancelled for the time being. Assemblies are cancelled for the time being.
Staff business travel, student school-related travel
SPS is postponing all district-sponsored out of state travel (air, bus, train, etc.) for staff and students, including international travel. This postponement of travel will extend through the end of the school year. We are also postponing all international student cultural exchange programs planned to visit our schools through the end of the school year.
Non-district use of district buildings
All non-district or school sponsored rentals and events in Seattle Public Schools will be canceled. District staff will be reaching out directly to partners to communicate if they are affected. This does not impact school-based licensed childcare, healthcare centers, community learning centers, or after school academic and enrichment programs operating in partnership with the school (i.e. PTA supported after school, extended day programs provided as a continuation of the school day).
SPS is sending daily emails to families and staff to provide the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 and the district website and individual school websites are updated daily.
For more information, please see the Seattle Public Schools website at https://www.seattleschools.org/district/calendars/news/what_s_new/coron…
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