Coronavirus Update - 3/12/20

Coronavirus Update - 3/12/20

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Dear Monroe School District community,

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty as we work together to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout our communities. We know the long-term school closures will create many hardships for families and we know you have many concerns. We share those same concerns and we are doing our very best to find solutions to meet the many needs of our students, families, and staff.

Below are answers to some of the many questions we are receiving. We will continue to share information with you as we receive official guidance from OSPI and the State Board of Education and as we finalize plans moving forward. Please understand that we do not have answers to all of the questions and we are working diligently to find answers and make plans. Now, more than ever, please make sure your contact information is up to date at your child's school. If you need to make changes, please call your school front office.


Dr. Fredrika Smith
Superintendent


A six-week closure seems extreme. How was this decision made?

We have had many lengthy discussions with the Snohomish Health District, Governor Jay Inslee, OSPI, and other school district superintendents throughout Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. All parties have come to the agreement that in order to help reduce the impact of COVID-19, all K-12 schools in the most highly affected counties need to close for an extended period of time. The governor has issued an executive order to close all schools in the three counties through April 24, 2020.

Will Sno-Isle classes still be in session during the closure? What about Running Start?

The Sno-Isle Skills Center is managed by the Mukilteo School District and they are also closed through April 24th in alignment with the Governor's Executive Order. Families with students in Running Start will need to contact the university where classes are held to see if they are remaining open to students. No out-of-district transportation will be provided during the closure.


Are all events, activities, athletics, meetings, etc. canceled until April 24?

All events, activities, meetings and use of our facilities by outside organizations are canceled during this closure. All school activities, including parent information nights, concerts, drama productions, and club meetings are also canceled at this time. Middle school athletics, including practices and competitions, are suspended.

All MHS athletic practices and competitions are currently canceled through March 22nd. At this time, we are closely monitoring the schools in our WESCO league, as well as neighboring leagues to make an aligned decision for athletics. We anticipate an update by the middle of next week with further information in regards to what happens after the 22nd.

What about elementary school conferences?

At this time, the traditional elementary school spring conferences that were scheduled for March 17-20 are canceled. We are working through plans to evaluate these important parent/teacher meetings and are looking at a variety of possibilities. We will share these details with elementary families as soon as plans are finalized.

Will we need to make up the days at the end of the school year?

OSPI expects districts to make every effort possible to make-up any days and instructional hours lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including extending the school year to June 19 if necessary. Currently, OSPI is stating that they will file an emergency rule to allow school districts to waive the days and instructional hours that districts won't be able to make up after June 19. This rule will be in effect for the 2019–20 school year only.

What about graduation?

The Washington State Board of Education makes determinations regarding graduation and we are awaiting official guidance from them.

Will this have an impact on student testing?

OSPI is canceling all state testing for the 2019–20 school year. This includes the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS), the Washington Access to Instruction and Measurement (WA-AIM), and WIDA Alternate ACCESS for English learners.

Are you providing online distance learning for students?

At this time, the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) does not recommend closed traditional schools transition to an online distance model unless the district can ensure each of the considerations below can be met. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring ALL students in the district will have equitable access to the learning and required materials, including technology.
  • Ensuring the online learning system can effectively support the district's different learning and teaching needs, including the ability to provide differentiated instruction as well as one-on-one support for students who need it. Regardless of where the learning is happening, supports identified on a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be provided if the district is operating.
  • Providing training to staff, students, and parents and guardians on how the system works and what expectations the district has.
  • The ability to track the attendance of both students and staff.
  • Ensuring the systems in use are secure and will not allow for the release of protected student or staff information.

Taking a traditional school environment online is not a simple task – nor is it one that should be attempted without serious consideration of the practicality and risk.

In the Monroe School District, we are committed to equitable access for all students and because our traditional schools cannot meet all of the above constraints from OSPI, we will not be providing formalized online distance learning at this time.

We understand that many of our families may not feel equipped to support their child's learning at home. We are working to gather resources that families may use at home if they choose. Families are encouraged to set a schedule and space for learning time each day, even if it is just spending time reading. Talk to your child about the importance of maintaining the skills they have, because, like anything, if we don't continue to practice regularly we will lose some of those skills.

Is the district still providing breakfast and lunch for students who need it?

On Friday, March 13th, we will be providing grab-and-go lunches for any Monroe School District student, available at Fryelands Elementary and Frank Wagner Elementary. We will be providing breakfast and lunch for students who need them long term, but are unsure what that will look like in the coming weeks. We will share details early next week once plans are finalized.

Are you providing childcare for students of working families?

Per direction of Governor Inslee, our district's priority is to provide childcare during school hours for families who are not able to remain home while serving in critical community roles such as healthcare and emergency responders. Our team is currently working to address this important need and we will share updates when we have more information.

If you are an emergency responder or work in the healthcare industry and need childcare in order to report to work during school hours, please notify Joanne Dickinson at dickinsonj@monroe.wednet.edu or (360)804-2530.

Are visitors allowed in schools during the closure?

Parents will be permitted to pick up paperwork and student materials in schools' main offices Friday, March 13 only. No visitors will be allowed to enter schools during the closure to minimize the spread of the virus after Friday, March 13. If you have an emergency that may require you to be on school campus, please schedule an appointment with your school administrator.

We are working through the details of what kindergarten registration will look like and will share that information as soon as it is finalized.

Will the district office be open during the closure?

At this time, the district office will remain open; however, we will be following social distancing guidelines and ask that all visitors not enter if they are:

  • Sick
  • Experiencing a fever or respiratory illness
  • Have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days