COVID-19: March 11 Update

A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker

Dear families, students, staff and community,

I just finished listening to Governor Jay Inslee’s briefing on COVID-19, and he gave guidance on ways to slow the spread of this virus, including efforts to reduce social interactions.

The governor and the health department are asking schools to stay open for now; however, he is asking all school districts to begin contingency planning, which we have already been doing and will continue to do. We are readying ourselves for the possibility of closures.

Schools serve important functions in our community. They are key to meeting students’ basic needs like nutrition and care and keeping our community functional. There is high overlap between our health care professionals and our parent community, and we want to support these critical local employees and maintain the capacity of the health care system by taking care of children so parents can work.

Here are the actions we are already taking:

  • We will continue to refine our contingency plans for possible local closures.
  • We have updated our directives for increasing social distancing. This will affect meetings and events in our schools (see below for details).
  • We continue to encourage staff and students to stay home when they are sick.
  • We are continuing to take extra care in our schools and workplaces to follow the CDC’s best advice for cleaning, hand-washing and other personal hygiene.

You will likely hear more in coming days about more school district closures in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, where there are more confirmed cases. You also have likely heard about cancellations of in-person classes at local higher education institutions like Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College. Please remember that our context is different than each of these situations. What a college can implement is different than what is easily implemented in a system with students from grades pre-K – 12, and the governor and the health department are still asking us to remain open to serve our families.

You can find updates to our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions page for families and staff:

  • Am I too sick to go to school or work?
  • What are our plans for district and school events?
  • Will COVID-19 affect the last day of school?

In the meantime, make sure you are taking care of yourself and your loved ones at this time of stress and anxiety. Governor Inslee reminded us this morning that we are all leaders and we can take individual steps to help each other. I thank those of you who have taken the time to share suggestions and messages of support. They are much appreciated. Our  FAQ page remains our most up-to-date source of information.

Sincerely,

Greg Baker