Well, what a week!! I hope you’ve been making time to enjoy the waning summer days as fall seems to be making an entrance with cooler temperatures and our lovely Seattle overcast skies. ;>)
In about a week, we plan to begin our COVID-19 batch testing program for students in grades K-12. As the name “batch” suggests, everyone in a classroom or cohort puts their test samples together in a batch vial with no names or personally identifiable information. This will be very similar to the batch testing we did last spring. To minimize time away from the classroom, we are arranging for next-day confirmatory testing at Pop Keeney Stadium for any student whose classroom/cohort batch has a positive result. Quarantine and confirmatory testing decisions will be made in accordance with the current protocols. This is an important layer of protection to help keep COVID-19 cases low and school buildings open. More details to come as I expect they will be finalized in the coming days.
In the meantime, please continue to be diligent with practicing COVID safety protocols with your family and in the community. Also, please keep your student at home if they are experiencing any of the COVID symptoms. It is easy to mistake a COVID symptom for allergies or the common cold, but it is safer for your student, your family and the community to get the symptoms checked out by a physician or have your student tested. If your student tests positive or is experiencing any of the COVID symptoms, please report that information to your school so we can take necessary steps that will help minimize impact. We are tracking information on our COVID-19 Dashboard webpage. The District information is updated daily. On this page, you can also find the COVID trends for both King and Snohomish counties.
I am excited to share that we will be offering on-campus vaccine clinics for our students ages 12 and older! We will partner with the Shoreline Fire Department to offer a mobile vaccine clinic, at some of our middle and high schools, starting the week of Sept. 20. For planning purposes only, we ask that families complete this interest survey by Tuesday, Sept. 14 if your family is interested in having your 12-year old or older student receive a Pfizer vaccine while at school. A parent/guardian consent form will be required for each student. Once we know how many middle and high school students are interested in this opportunity we will share more information about the schedule, times and locations of the mobile clinics. We have also provided information about a number of community vaccination locations on our District website and will continue to update these as appropriate. If you have questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, President Biden shared an updated COVID-19 response plan and signed an executive order that affects employers across the country including the Northshore School District. In the plan, the White House mandates that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develop a “rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” He also said federal funding will continue to be available for testing in K-12 schools. I will stay connected to this work and will share updates with you as more information becomes available.
As fall sports are in full swing, I want to share expectations for student athletes and spectators. Public Health Seattle & King County issued an order effective Tuesday, Sept. 7. The order requires vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees at outdoor events with greater than 500 attendees to wear a mask at all times unless consuming food or drink. Governor Inslee recently issued a face covering order that has gone into effect for events statewide. Properly wearing an appropriate face covering in public settings is proven to be one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings help you avoid jeopardizing the health of the student athletes participating in the game, student musicians, fans, and others in the community. As this fast-spreading Delta variant is in our midst and affecting young people at higher rates, we want to follow important county and state mandated protocols that are intended to keep our student athletes in play and all students in the classroom. If a spectator at one of our events refuses to wear a mask they must leave the venue immediately. Spectators are expected to be kind and respectful to one another. I know we will work together to do what is best for the health of our students and community and I look forward to watching our athletes compete.
Finally, as this weekend is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our nation, I will be reflecting on the impact of that horrific event which continues to ripple through our nation and our Northshore community. Even as we remember the tragic event, we remain grateful for the efforts of so many who committed selfless acts of courage as they responded to the events that day. I will also consider what I can continue to do to build and sustain strong relationships that will contribute to the health of our local and global community. I invite you to do the same. We are better together.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.