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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

The Wenatchee School District is working to develop plans for the SMART RESTART of schools in the fall 2020. We will continue to update this area with the most current information on reopening steps.

Are Schools Reopening in the fall 2020?

In May 2020, OSPI convened a workgroup to inform recommendations and guidance for school districts as they plan for the reopening of Washington's schools in fall 2020 after school was closed from providing in-person instruction from March–June 2020 due to COVID-19. The broad workgroup consisted of more than 120 educators, education leaders, elected officials, community-based organizations, parents, students, and community members. Their expertise and recommendations informed the Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide, published June 11, 2020. The guide includes guidance by OSPI and the workgroup, as well as sections on health and safety from the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Industries.

On June 24, OSPI published a questions & answers (Q&A) document to provide answers to some of the questions raised most frequently by school and district administrators.

Smaller workgroups will be meeting in June and July of 2020 to provide school districts with guidance and recommendations on serving certain student groups in the fall, including students with disabilities, students in career and technical education courses, and our youngest learners. There are also groups meeting to provide guidance on parent and family engagement, as well as higher education transitions. More information is available on the workgroup webpage.

What is the District doing to preprare for reopening in the fall?

WSD SMART RESTART Reopening Committee
Wenatchee School District has formed a SMART RESTART school reopening committee to create a thoughtful and safe SMART RESTART plan to prepare students, families, educators, and community for school to resume in the fall. SMART RESTART is based upon the current guidelines from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Our goal is to return to school for in-person instruction with enhanced safety and mitigation procedures. However, we must be proactive and prepared during these ever-changing times to continue educating our students if and when circumstances change throughout the year related to the health and safety of our students and employees. Currently, our SMART RESTART committee is working with task force teams to establish three educational instructional pathways; on-site, online and hybrid (on-site and online). These teams are also developing procedures for school routines (meals, recess, riding the bus, pick up and drop off, etc.) that comply with current social distancing requirements.

Due to all the factors and information needed to plan as COVID-19 issues unfold, the comprehensive SMART RESTART plan will be released in early August. While summer may have just started, we know that families are eager to know what a return to school will look like and how they can best prepare themselves and their children. The plan will detail operations and academics and will address the mechanics of mitigating factors necessary to comply with OSPI’s guidance and safely reopen schools such as masks, sanitization, and social distancing measures.

Will face coverings be required?

Yes. The Department of Health (DOH) requires everyone in a school building or on a school bus to wear a face covering, with specific exemptions identified in the OSPI guidance.

  • Can students use a face shield instead of a cloth face covering?
    Yes, though cloth face coverings have a superior ability to capture more droplets from speaking, coughing, sneezing, etc.
  • Can staff use a face shield instead of a cloth face covering? Yes, in certain circumstances. L&I has updated their guidance to allow staff to wear face shields when a face covering reduces the effectiveness of instruction (for example, during speech therapy, demonstrating enunciation, or language instruction). This is determined by the educator leading the instruction. For all other activities (staff meetings, hallway monitoring, playground or cafeteria monitoring, etc.), staff must wear a cloth face covering unless they fit into one of the exemption categories.
  • What is a cloth face covering? According to DOH, a cloth face covering is fabric that covers the nose and mouth. It can be: • A sewn mask secured with ties or straps around the head or behind the ears. • Multiple layers of fabric tied around a person’s head. • Made from a variety of materials, such as fleece, cotton, or linen. • Factory-made or made from household items.
  • How will the District address concerns families may have about face coverings? Before the school year begins, we be communicating information with families about the health and safety requirements of face coverings as one of several mitigation strategies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has information about face coverings for children, including tips for helping children become comfortable wearing them. Schools should also be careful about comparing this requirement to a dress code. Schools may remind families that schools have many health and safety requirements that require students and staff to wear protective equipment, such as in lab science classes, career and technical education courses, or in physical education classes.
  • What steps will the District take if a student will not wear a face covering? For students who are not exempt from the face covering requirement, schools should take steps to educate the student on safety compliance, implement positive behavior interventions, recommend alternative face coverings (such as a face shield instead of a mask, which can feel more comfortable), and, when appropriate, consult with the student’s parent or guardian. Only as a last resort will the Distric consider excluding a student for refusing to wear a face covering. If a student is excluded, the school must provide the student with an opportunity to receive educational services during the exclusion and then return the student to their regular educational setting when the exclusion ends. Students who are unable to consistently wear a face covering due to sensory, behavioral, or other disabilities  will not be disciplined or denied access to educational services as a result.

Where can I find learning resources to help my student(s) continue learning during the summer?

The following educational resources are available to support at-home learning for families during the summer months. These materials and resources are supplemental and intended to keep students connected to their learning.

Continuous Learning Resources

What about Special Ed?

For the most current information on how we're addressing students with IEPs visit OSPIs website 

Need home internet while your students are home?

Please contact your child's school for more information on accessing internet. Limited Wi-Fi hotspots are being made available for check out during the closure. 

Who is at-risk for COVID-19 and who gets tested?

Students and staff at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60 years
  • People with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant people

Not everybody who feels ill needs to be tested for COVID-19, particularly if you have mild illness. Healthcare providers determine who should be tested, based on specific symptoms. While testing is becoming more available, there are still limitations in the ability to quickly collect and process tests.

What should staff do if they need to stay home?

Staff that feel ill should stay home and follow the normal protocol reporting an absence. Staff can use sick leave or leave without pay. If you are in a high-risk group and believe that you need to stay home you should obtain a doctor’s note and submit it to the human resources office.  Contact Katie Batson or Kelly Lopez for more information about extended absences and leave.

How do I protect myself and those around me?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% isopropyl alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are coughing/sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

How do I know if I’m feeling symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

To ensure the health and safety of yourself as well as your community, if you are exhibiting symptoms you feel may be consistent with COVID-19, healthcare providers are asking that you DO NOT show up at your place of health care unannounced. Please contact your healthcare provider to determine the best course of care.

Both Columbia Valley Community Health and Confluence Health have nursing staff available to take your call. 

Confluence Health 1-800-525-0127
CVCH 509-662-6000

If you are exhibiting symptoms that you feel require emergent medical attention, please call 9-1-1.

How are you addressing safety and belonging?

As our district community navigates this difficult time, we must continue to lean on the strengths of people. Of special importance is to remember that transmission of COVID-19 is not based on a person's race or country of origin. If hurtful or misinformed comments are said, witnesses to these comments are encouraged to speak up. It is vital to advocate for our community members and to stay kind to one another. We must uphold a culture of safety and belonging in and beyond our school buildings. Always, but especially in challenging and unpredictable times, we must stick together as a school community and remember that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.

Ask here

Local Healthcare Resources
Columbia Valley Community Health and Confluence Health have created informational websites about the coronavirus with steps you can take if you feel you or your child are exhibiting symptoms you feel may be consistent with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Columbia Valley Community Health
Confluence Health
Centers for Disease Control and Preventions
Washington State Department of Health