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    COVID-19 Updates and Resources for Families and Students
    Posted on 04/01/2020
    District logo with text "Covid-19 Updates"

    All Schools Closed

    All schools are closed through at least April 24. During this time, Seattle Public Schools will continue essential services including food distribution and learning supports.

     

     

    April 1 Letter to Families

    Dear Families:

    Together we are navigating a global health crisis, one that has had a significant impact on our daily lives here at home. On March 12, Governor Inslee closed all public and private schools until at least Monday, April 27. Since that time, state and federal guidance has continued to change including from OSPI, the state education agency, who now requires all districts to provide continuous learning during the school closures. It is no small task for educators to support 53,000 students with continuous, remote learning while also managing profound disruption to their own lives. And families now find themselves serving as co-educators. There isn’t a clear roadmap for this type of work together and at this scale. But despite challenges, we are all making a difference for our community’s children.

    In less than three weeks, school and central staff redesigned instruction delivery, supports, and stood up new services. Community-focused parents lifted up discussion boards and social media sites to share resources and information. Staff, volunteers, and community partners have supported food delivery and critical services such as child care. Everyone has risen to the challenge in creative and student-centered ways. Thank you.

    The magnitude of change and disruption means that are still hundreds of details and daily decisions to be made in support of students. Some of these decisions are dependent on guidance from state and federal officials. We remain committed to sharing information as soon as we can and keeping families, students, and staff informed.

    Today’s communication will focus on questions Public Affairs has received from families and students about continuous learning, enhanced child care supports, and how our community can support remote learning during this unprecedented time. Please remember you can find many additional resources including, but not limited to, student meals, on-demand learning videos created by SPS teachers, and mental health supports on the COVID-19 family resource webpage.

    Continuous Learning

    What supports are available for the Class of 2020?

    Supporting our high school seniors is a priority. Today we launched a webpage that outlines key information for the Class of 2020 including an FAQ. We are working closely with our partners at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the State Board of Education, colleges, community colleges, and universities as we make decisions and provide guidance to student and their families.

    During the week of March 30, school-based staff are reaching out to all seniors to check in on them individually. This check-in will focus on wellness, access to technology, academic engagement, and graduation requirements. Go to the Class of 2020 COVID-19 update.

    Will student work be graded during school closures at the secondary level?

    There have been several questions from families and students about grading of student work during this time. OSPI is encouraging districts to utilize a Pass/Fail option for second semester in lieu of letter grades. For seniors, we anticipate that the State Board of Education will also issue guidance on awarding credits when they release rules related to HB 2965 on April 8. SPS is still determining guidelines for how educators should give grades and award credits. Guidelines will be posted as soon as they are finalized.

    Will student work be graded during school closures at the elementary level?

    Seattle Public Schools reports progress towards academic standards taught in grades K-5. Progress reports are sent home at the end of each trimester. Reporting for Trimester 1 was completed in December 2019 and distributed to families. Educators are currently in the process of completing standards marking for the Trimester 2 period. Due to school closures, schools will not print progress reports to distribute to families at this time. SPS is currently assessing how to approach standards marking for the Trimester 3 standards marking period. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

    Why is ZOOM not recommended by SPS?

    Many teachers have been using ZOOM to support class meetings and videoconferencing with families. Due to privacy and security concerns, Zoom and Google phones/accounts are not appropriate for student conversations. If your student has been using ZOOM, your child’s teacher will ask them to start using Microsoft Teams. Teams can be used for virtual instruction, class meetings, and individual 1:1 support. Families can also monitor a student’s discussion, teacher posts, assignments, and engagement within Schoology to ensure a secure and transparent learning environment. Additional technology information and supports will be shared in the April 3 family communication.

    Child Care Site Expansion

    What are the child care options for first responders?

    In response to Governor Inslee’s mandate to stand up child care, Seattle Public Schools has worked with multiple partners, including the City of Seattle, to deliver emergency child care options for first responders - medical, hospital/clinic staff, EMTs, along with firefighters and law enforcement personnel.

    On April 6, the district will open five sites run by Seattle Public Schools educators, administrators, and staff. These sites are for school-age students, K-5 grade. This is just one more way public educators and staff are doing our part to support the welfare of our entire community. Register and learn more. These five sites are in addition to the twelve sites already operating in our school buildings. If you are in need of child care, there are still openings available. Go to the child care page to learn more.

    How You Can Help

    Launch of Seattle’s Fund for Education Equity

    Many families and community members have reached out to ask how they can help during this time. Thank you. While our schools may be closed, our students are ready to learn. Since this crisis began, the Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools have been working in partnership to ensure our students have the resources they need to be safe, stay healthy, and continue their education.

    Remote learning is new and challenging for all SPS students and staff – we are learning this skill together. In response, the Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools created Seattle’s Fund for Education Equity. This fund will help ensure Seattle Public Schools can get students and families the supports and resources necessary to make remote, continuous learning possible. Investments in Seattle’s Fund for Education Equity will be used for:

    • Devices and technology to ensure students and families have access to remote, continuous learning
    • Technical support for families so they can support their students
    • Training for teachers and staff to best serve students remotely
    • Additional learning resources for students when they return to school, to ensure they can catch up and keep learning

    Contributions of any size make a difference. Thank you for supporting equitable access to learning during this critical time. Visit the Alliance for Education website for more information.

    Our community response to COVID-19 requires each of us to individually prioritize our collective safety and future. Thank you for your partnership in making sure our students and entire community are well supported, healthy, and safe during this time.

    The next regularly scheduled communication will be sent on Friday, April 3. You may also read updates on the COVID-19 webpage.

    Office of Public Affairs

     


     

    King County, Washington State, and National Health Resources

    The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, or how the virus is spread, please call 1-800-525-0127.

    Phone lines are currently staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days a week. Please note that this call center can not access COVID-19 testing results. For testing inquiries or results, please contact your health care provider.

    Living our Values: Resources to combat racism, bias, and discrimination

    Our community values are tested in times like these. We must continue to be united and support each other as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) becomes more widespread. In schools, we will continue to demonstrate compassion and care as our greater community navigates this global health situation.

    We are aware of reports that some of our Asian students have been targeted and discriminated against in connection to COVID-19. This is unacceptable and contrary to our values of racial equity and social justice. In SPS, we are committed to welcoming, safe, and inclusive schools, and we do not tolerate hate speech or acts of discrimination.

    Help us prevent discrimination or stigmatization by sharing accurate information. COVID-19 infection is not connected to any race, ethnicity, or nationality. Misinformation about coronavirus disease 2019 can create fear and hostility that harms people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy. Public Health Seattle and King County has provided resources to address and prevent.