As you may have already heard from our district, the following safety measures are being required at our school starting today, March 9th.
– All whole school assemblies are cancelled. This morning we did our “assembly” over the PA system and will continue to do so until we are allowed to assemble again:)
– All school-day field trips are cancelled until further notice from our school district.
– All large school events are cancelled until further notice from our school district. This includes our upcoming PTA Spring Breakfast and PTA movie night.
-After school programming (Alki Enrichment, Island Time, Community Center Care, etc) are all run through outside agencies and not by our school. Please contact them with any questions about their programming changes or updates.
Continue to monitor all Seattle Public Schools communication regarding any further updates. Stay safe and let us know if you have any questions!
With love and appreciation,
Alki Elementary Staff
March 6 Letter to Families
As we head into the weekend, we want to provide families with an update on the district’s response to the spread of coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, in our greater community. We continue to work in partnership with Public Health Seattle and King County as the lead agency for COVID-19. Our top priority is the health and safety of our students and staff, and we will follow the guidance of health experts in this evolving situation. Currently, Public Health does not recommend closing schools.
Below are common questions from our families and the public over the last 24 hours and responses. If you have a question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archived questions and responses can be found on the coronavirus disease 2019 FAQ, including our emergency procedures.
We hope these daily updates help reassure you that SPS is taking this situation very seriously, that we are adjusting our practice in response to new information from Public Health, and that we continue to prioritize the safety and learning of our students.
Public Health’s identification of higher risk populations
On March 5, Public Health Seattle and King County provided revised guidance to reduce exposure to COVID-19 in the general population. Public Health is recommending, but not requiring, that people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 stay home and away from large groups of people. People at higher risk, according to Public Health, include those who are 60 years and older; people who are pregnant; people with weakened/compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.
How does this “at risk” population guidance effect Seattle Public Schools?
The health of our staff matters to us. Seattle Public Schools has close to 11,000 part-time and full-time employees, and some who meet the “at risk” criteria. In our effort to help disrupt the spread of COVID-19 and protect our staff and students, these employees, with required documentation, may need to stay home.
Our goal is to keep our doors open as long as possible, while prioritizing the health and safety of our students. With that said, we are tracking staff and student attendance daily. In order to keep schools open we need to have enough staff to provide a safe learning environment for students. We also want to make sure that staff who need to self-quarantine because of high risk or illness take time off. We have canceled all events, workshops, field trips, etc. that require a substitute teacher and deployed our certified central office staff, an estimated 100 educators, to support in our 104 schools.
If a school is closed, how will students who qualify for free or reduced lunch be supported?
As part of our emergency plan to address the closure of schools or a school, we will provide sack lunches prepared by our central kitchen. Distribution sites will be determined. We may distribute from school campuses, neighboring schools, or in partnership with the community centers and the City of Seattle.
What additional steps is the district taking to disrupt the spread of COVID-19?
We have started the process of canceling all events that bring large groups of students, adults, and community members together in response to Public Health guidance and in an abundance of caution. This includes, but is not limited to, large school community events, school day assemblies, all student travel, and activities outside of school hours (i.e. overnight field trips and competitions). These enhanced restrictions go into effect on March 9 until further notice. Out of state and international travel is canceled through the end of the school year.
Child care and extended day learning programs are still running to support working parents. This could change if schools are closed or if custodial services are needed to disinfect multiple buildings. We will provide as much advance notice as possible.
Why aren’t athletics canceled?
High school athletics are governed by the WIAA, a state-wide organization. They will make the final determination on athletics. We continue to be in conversation with WIAA and will let you know if anything changes. Middle school athletics are being assessed at this time and we will have more information early next week.
We recognize these changes will disappoint students. We ask for your patience and understanding as our community works together to address an unprecedented community health challenge.
Seattle Public Schools is excusing all health-related absences
We want to reiterate that families know what is best for their children and we will honor your decision to keep your child home from school. Some children and family members may be at higher risk for severe illness because of underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system. We are asking parents to make the best decision for their families. Currently, Seattle Public Schools is excusing all health-related absences, including COVID-19. Your child does not need to present symptoms to receive an excused absence. Please let your child’s school know if you will be keeping them home.
Make sure your emergency contact list is up to date
If a student shows signs of illness, including COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, or respiratory distress), we will immediately move them to another part of the school, away from other children, and contact a guardian/parent to come pick them up. If a parent doesn’t respond, we will call the listed emergency contact(s). Please contact your school to update your emergency contact list.
For specific information on what is being done at your child’s school to support health and safety, please ask your child’s teacher or the school principal.
Finally, we want to acknowledge and celebrate our incredible educators, custodial staff, school leaders, nurses, bus drivers, family volunteers, and everyone working to ensure our classrooms are safe, welcoming, and centered on student learning during this time. We appreciate you and are so proud of our Seattle Public Schools community.
Thank you for sharing your questions, please continue to do so. We will resume daily communication on Monday, March 9. We will only communicate over the weekend if there is new, critical information from Public Health. Thank you for helping us keep our children, schools, and community healthy and safe.