Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Will KSD provide on-site instruction during the closure for students with "significant needs"?

    Answered April 8, 2020: On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced the extension of K-12 school closures through the remainder of the academic year. The order provides a direction for schools as they plan for the remainder of the school year. Under the order, schools are expected to continue education delivery through distance learning and continue to make progress in providing these services equitably. Under the order, school facilities may continue to be used for preparation of food service, child care and, under very limited circumstances, to provide other social services that are not possible to be provided off-site.At all times, these services are only allowed if they follow public health guidelines. To protect the health of students, staff, and providers, the intention is not that school buildings should be open and serving all students with significant needs. The intention is to provide districts with the ability to provide essential and necessary in-person services to individual students in the very rare circumstance that the services cannot be provided at a distance. (Governor Statement

    When can I pick up my or my child’s school supplies/instrument/belongings at the schools?

    Answered April 8, 2020:At some point we will allow entry back into our school buildings at this time they remain closed. Our first priority is the health and wellbeing of all of our community members. The current “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order from Governor Inslee is in place through May 4, we will not reconsider opening buildings until that time. If there is a medical necessity to pick up an item now please contact your principal who can work with District Leadership on a plan to access the building.  Please continue reading your email and checking our website and social media for updates on access to school buildings.

    Are laptops going to be deployed to elementary students?

    Answered April 3, 2020: We are committed to ensuring equity of access to technology for all KSD students and would like complete this short survey which asks questions about your household computer and internet access as well as support needed for continued learning at home. If you request additional information about access to technology, you will be asked to provide your contact information.  We will begin deploying devices to those in need after spring break and are working to secure additional hotspots for families in need. We have been working through the safest way for families and our staff members to deploy devices to our families. We encourage any enrolled KSD family needing a device or support to complete the survey by April 10.

    In the Superintendent’s message on April 3, Watts Happening, we deployed our KSD Home Technology Access Survey. Dr. Watts monthly newsletter is sent via Peachjar, goes directly to families and has the highest open rates of all of our newsletters we send to families, which is why we sent it via this platform first. We also posted the survey information on our Closure page Friday and our FAQ, and sent a mobile app notification Saturday. Did you know 76% of our families are signed up to receive mobile notifications from our district? We will continue promoting the survey on social media to families. Our communication plans are rooted in data informed decisions and include email, phone call, text, website, mobile app, and social media.

    Is the district providing online learning for the prolonged school closure?

    Updated March 27, 2020: On Monday, March 23, 2020 the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) changed its position on educational services during this school closure. The new guidance is that education must continue during the closure.

    We have been consistently working on our continuous learning plan while all schools are closed through Friday, April 24. With this plan, we are also working hard to ensure that students who need devices get them. As a district, we plan to meet the guidelines from OSPI which includes instruction using printed learning materials, phone contact with teachers, email with teachers, technology-based virtual instruction, or a combination to meet student needs. We are working with our labor partners and Teaching and Learning to come to agreement on how we will meet this guidance.

    More information is coming next week (March 30 - April 3). We appreciate your patience as we adjust and readjust to shifting circumstances and direction. Thank you in advance for your flexibility and patience!

    In the meantime, please use our learning support resources by level:

    Why are the school playgrounds and fields closed?

    Answer updated March 23, 2020: Based on health department guidance and in alignment with Governor Inslee's Stay Home Stay Healthy OrderKent Parks Recreation & Community Services, Kent School District playgrounds are closed to the public. This is an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means:

    • "Touch surfaces" including playground structures and swing sets are closed
    • All courts and fields are closed
    • Everyone must maintain social distancing
    • Groups of people may not gather

    Please observe these rules so we can all do our part to slow the spread.

    What is social distancing?

    Answered March 22, 2020: Social distancing is staying away from crowds or congregations of 10 or more people with the intent of minimizing transmission of infectious disease outbreaks.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance ­— approximately 6 feet— from others when possible.” Social distancing is recommended because medical professionals know that the virus that causes COVID-19 can travel at least 3 feet when coughed or sneezed and can live on surfaces for hours to days.

    Will student graduations in June be impacted? What about AP or IB testing?

    Updated March 19, 2020, Answered March 15, 2020: We are in close contact with OSPI. There are a number decisions that need to be made to support our students. More information will be coming soon. The State Board  of Education will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, March 26, regarding considerations for a waiver that will provide flexibility so students in the graduating Class of 2020 or earlier, who were on track to graduate, are not held back by school closures due to the novel coronavirus. The State Board expects to adopt emergency rules by the middle of April. 

    What conversations should parents have with their children at home?

    Answered March 15, 2020: We know families, staff, and students are worried. We are committed to keeping you informed and working with you to keep our school communities safe. Want resources to share with your children? Here’s an informative graphic resource from NPR. Resources will continue to be shared with KSD families via Peachjar and KSD Social Media platforms, and the KSD App

    Will this have an impact on student testing?

    Answered March 13, 2020OSPI has decided that all state testing will be canceled 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), English Learner Progress Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21), and WIDA Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.

    What does the closure by the Governor of all school districts in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties include?

    Answered March 12, 2020: All schools in Kent School District will be closed effective March 16, 2020, through April 24, 2020.  The Governor or King County Public Health may extend this.  

    This includes the cancellation of all out-of-district transportation, school events, community rentals, athletic practices, and competitions. All school offices will be open Friday, March 13 through Wednesday, March 18 to allow for parents, students, and staff to be able to retrieve medication and other essential personal items that they need to have with them while schools are closed.

    Beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, there will be no access to KSD facilities unless otherwise communicated.

    Do schools need to make up lost instructional time?

    Answered March 12, 2020: 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. OSPI will file an emergency rule to allow the agency 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. Districts should wait until they know the extent of their closures before submitting an application for a waiver. We will communicate any changes to the school year calendar, if necessary, directly to families as soon as decisions are made. OSPI will provide more information about the submittal process within the next two months. These decisions will take time as we don’t know how long and to what extent our community will be impacted by COVID-19.

    I am concerned about my child who has a health condition. What can I do?

    Answered March 9, 2020: Following the recommendation of Public Health, some children have underlying health conditions, such as weakened immune systems, that put them at higher risk. Caregivers of children with underlying health conditions should consult with healthcare providers about whether their children should stay home.

    Should people at low risk for COVID-19 wear masks?

    No. The Washington State Department of Health and Kent School District are not recommending that people at low risk of 2019-nCoV wear masks in public. Currently, the immediate health risk to the general public in Washington is low and there are questions about the effectiveness of using masks in public to prevent illness. However, some people prefer to wear masks and this is a common cultural practice in some parts of the world.

    Where can I turn for more information?

    As with any newly emerging infectious disease, knowledge evolves with time. Early on, it is difficult to know the source of the disease, the ways in which it spreads, how effectively it spreads from person to person, and how severe the infection is. We will continue to update the Public Health – Seattle & King County novel coronavirus webpage as more information becomes available.

    Where should I turn for accurate information or to ask specific questions?

    Please continue to consult the CDC, DOH, and PHSKC webpages for the most up-to-date information:

    If you have specific concerns about an exposure in your school, please call (206) 296-4774. We aim to address urgent questions as quickly as possible. For general questions about COVID-19 or Washington State’s response, we encourage families, students, and the public to call the Washington State Call Center at 800-525-0127. 

    Who should be tested for COVID-19?

    Current CDC guidance recommends testing for the following people:

    • Ill with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have recent travel (in the past 14 days) to countries with widespread or ongoing community spread.
    • Ill with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing AND have been identified by Public Health as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or had recent close contact with someone who is being evaluated for COVID-19 infection.

    If someone meets the criteria, they should contact their healthcare provider by phone and call the Public Health Communicable Disease team at (206) 296-4774. Public Health is not currently recommending widespread testing for members of the general public. We anticipate testing guidance to change in the near term as more testing comes on-line at commercial laboratories.   

    Who should self-quarantine?

    Self-quarantine means staying at home and away from others and self-monitoring for symptoms, including doing daily temperature checks.

    Self-Quarantine Required

    Individuals in the following categories should self-quarantine for 14 days:

    • Recent travelers of areas to countries with widespread or ongoing community spread.
    • Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. For example, Barry’s wife, Shelly, works at a school in your district. Shelly was recently confirmed to have COVID-19. Barry should self-quarantine for 14 days, monitor symptoms, and notify his healthcare provider and Public Health if he becomes ill.

    Do Not Self-Quarantine

    Contacts of asymptomatic people who have had close contact with a confirmed case do not need to self-quarantine. For example, Joni is a healthcare provider who has had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case at work. She does not have any respiratory symptoms. Her son, Liam, does not need to self-quarantine and does not need evaluation or testing for COVID-19. However, if Joni becomes sick with COVID-19, Liam will need to self-quarantine.

    Will Public Health notify our schools if we have a case?

    Yes, if Public Health is aware of a case in a King County school (KSD student or staff member), we will contact key school personnel, such as the school nurse, principal, or district leadership.

    A student or staff member in our district recently tested negative for COVID-19. Should the school require healthcare provider documentation for reentry? 

    School administrators should not require any letter or documentation from health care providers about their COVID-19 status. Requiring documentation is not recommended as a measure to protect public health at this time. 

    How should we talk about coronavirus with our students and other children in our lives?

    This situation can raise fear and anxiety for both adults and children. The following resources and helpful articles are available to families.

    Where can I find additional resources about stigma and discrimination?

    Misinformation about coronavirus and COVID-19 can create fear and hostility that hurts people and makes it harder to keep everyone healthy. We’re stronger as a community when we stand together against discrimination. Together we can prevent, interrupt, and respond to stigma.

    • Rely on and share trusted sources of information.
    • Speak up if you hear, see, or read stigmatizing or harassing comments or misinformation.
    • Show compassion and support for individuals and communities more closely impacted.
    • Avoid stigmatizing people who are in quarantine. They are making the right choice for their communities.
    • Do not make assumptions about someone’s health status based on their ethnicity, race or national origin.

    Public Health – Seattle & King County has an anti-stigma toolkit with social media tools, a poster, infographic, and other information to help you prevent, interrupt, and respond to stigma.

    What about student absences?

    March 3, 2020 Washington OSPI Guidance:Many districts, parents, and guardians have expressed concern about student absences related to COVID-19 safety concerns. State law requires school administrators to excuse absences due to student safety concerns as well as absences due to illness, health condition, or medical appointment (Washington Administrative Code [WAC] 392-401-020). The WAC also provides districts with the authority to define additional categories or criteria for excused absences should the need arise.

    We know that fears may be high as identified cases increase, particularly for families with loved ones living in the home who have a compromised immune system.

    In KSD, we understand that each family situation is different. Your family is the ultimate decision maker about what steps to take to keep your family safe. Please contact your school to report an absence or if you have questions about make-up work from missed school.

    What is the daily cleaning routine in all schools? What supplies are used?  

    Daily cleaning of all KSD facilities includes restrooms, room areas, locker rooms which are cleaned and disinfected. Cafeteria tabletops/benches are sanitized at the end of breakfast and at the end of lunch.

    Touch points are addressed at least one time per week based on current KSD staffing. This has increased due to the COVID-19 concern. Our custodial staff is working very hard and has reprioritized their daily cleaning routines in all schools, focusing on disinfecting high touch surfaces and common areas. This may mean some custodial routines are delayed. 

    Hospital grade cleaners are Virex 256 and Oxivir and not for teacher use as only custodians and health room staff are trained in their use.

    Teachers and office staff have access to Alpha HP and microfiber cloths. KSD Principals have this information and have been advised to meet routinely with their custodians to discuss individual school needs.

    Students are only allowed to use soap and microfiber cloths.

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