As we enter the colder months, COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Many students across our region continue to learn remotely, with some limited in-person instruction. Remember to take simple and important steps to stop the spread of the virus, and help us to get more students in school safely. Wear a mask, maintain physical distance and wash hands frequently.
Return to School Planning
School districts across Washington State have developed plans to bring kids back into the classrooms whenever possible. These plans promote health and safety, educational advancement and follow guidance in the “decision tree” framework that State leaders and the state Department of Health (DOH) announced in August.
DOH’s “decision tree” framework offers metrics based on three COVID-19 activity levels:
75 cases per 100,000 in 14 days is considered a high COVID-19 activity level for a community.
At this level, DOH recommends distance learning with the option for limited in-person learning for students who need it most – such as children with disabilities. Sports and extracurricular activities should remain on pause.
25–75 cases per 100,000 in 14 days is considered a moderate COVID-19 activity level.
At this level, DOH recommends distance learning as described above, with gradual expansion to in-person education, beginning with elementary students. Younger students under the age of 10 benefit the most from in-person learning while also posing less risk for transmitting COVID-19 than older students. Most sports and extracurricular activities should remain on pause.
Below 25 cases per 100,000 in 14 days is considered a low COVID-19 activity level.
At this level, DOH recommends full-time in-person learning for all elementary students and hybrid learning for middle and high school, eventually moving to in-person for middle and high school.
Using the decision tree framework, schools in Washington have started the school year in one or a combination of:
- In-person education in small groups with appropriate physical distancing and masks
- A combination of small-group in-person education and remote learning
- Enhanced remote learning
Individual school district reopening plans vary based on their size and needs. Be sure to check with your school district for specific plans.
Facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Free Wi-Fi Map
In response to the impact of COVID-19, drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots provide free, temporary emergency internet access for Washingtonians who don’t have broadband service at their homes. Commerce has a Wi-Fi mapping tool on its website.
Washington 211 COVID-19 Call Center
Do you need information or answers to your questions and concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)? You can call 1-800-525-0127 or text 211-211 for help. You can also text the word “Coronavirus” to 211-211 to receive information and updates on your phone wherever you are. You will receive links to the latest information on COVID-19, including county-level updates, and resources for families, businesses, students, and more.
Do you need support due to stress from COVID-19?
Call Washington Listens, a line that provides nonclinical support to people experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19. People who call Washington Listens will speak to a support specialist and receive information and connection to community resources in their area. The program is anonymous and no identifying information is maintained. People who staff Washington Listens will receive basic training needed to provide support to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. To reach Washington Listens, call 1-833-681-0211. Read the Washington Listens fact sheet.
Wearing a face covering is difficult, especially for youngsters, but it is an important health precaution. Wearing a face covering plus washing your hands and maintaining physical distancing will help us to be able to return students to the classroom sooner. Properly wearing a mask is easy. Wash your hands before putting on the mask. Be sure it covers the nose and mouth and is secured under the chin. Make sure you can breathe easily and if breathing becomes hard, the mask should be easy to remove. Masks should be worn by kids over age two.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19 and the best prevention is to avoid being exposed to the virus in the first place.