Dear ISD Community,
As you are likely aware, new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were confirmed in King County over the weekend. We want to assure you that the Issaquah School District is prepared and has an emergency response plan in place. Please note that there are no confirmed cases of the disease in the Issaquah School District.
Public Health of Seattle and King County is not advising cancellation of events, field trips, or school closures at this time. However, we are closely monitoring the health and attendance of our students and staff and preparing for any potential disruptions to school operations in an effort to minimize the spread of the disease. We are also taking extra precautions to disinfect surfaces in our schools per recommended health department protocols.
Should we be required to close a school or cancel events in the future, we will notify the community via email, District and school E-News, and posts on our websites and social media.
What if my child misses several days of school due to illness? What if I want to keep my child home as a precaution?
As with the flu or other illness resulting in an extended absence, should your child become ill you can contact the school to excuse the absence. Teachers will work with students and families to make up the coursework according to our attendance policies and procedures. Please be assured that as a parent or legal guardian, you have the right to excuse your student’s absence on any given day. If you decide to keep your child home as a precaution, please contact your school's attendance office.
When to seek medical evaluation and advice
While the number of cases is increasing, the vast majority of the illnesses around the world are mild, with fever and cough. If you or a family member has symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular medical provider. Public Health recommends not going to the emergency room unless there is a critical need. Public Health also recommends seeking medical advice if you are over the age of 60 and have an underlying medical condition.
How to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Coronaviruses, including COVID-19, spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) via coughing or sneezing. It may also spread by touching a surface or object with the virus on it. The same good health habits that prevent other viruses like the flu, also prevent the spread of COVID-19 and decrease the risk of getting sick:
Our Cleaning Protocols
Custodians are following procedures for cleaning and disinfecting with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectant with a claim for human coronaviruses. Our custodians are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner, and to clean up potentially infectious materials. Typically, this means daily sanitizing of surfaces and objects that are touched often:
Inclusivity and Behavior Expectations
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 the Issaquah School District, 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 & King County has provided resources to address and prevent discrimination.
Public health agencies currently do not recommend that people wear masks when they are in public. This is because the immediate health risk to the general public in Washington is currently low. Additionally, scientists are not sure whether wearing a mask in public actually keeps healthy people from getting sick. It’s most important for people who are sick to wear a mask in a healthcare setting (such as a waiting room) to avoid exposing other people when they cough or sneeze.
In some parts of the world, mask use is customary. People wear masks often for a variety of reasons, including to avoid pollen and air pollution, as a courtesy to others when they have the common cold, and for other cultural and even social reasons. Please do not assume that someone wearing a mask has COVID-19.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. The District continues to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health Seattle & King County in our response to COVID -19, including decisions to close schools and whether students or staff would need to be quarantined. As soon as new information becomes available, we will let you know. For the most up to date information, visit the Public Health Seattle & King County website and sign up for email alerts from their agency.
We all have a role to play in keeping students, staff, and families healthy and safe. You can help by staying informed, practicing good hygiene, and staying home or keeping children home if they have been running a fever or are exhibiting signs of a fever. For information, links, and additional resources including how to stay healthy visit our health notices webpage.
Want resources to share with your children?
Here’s an informative graphic resource from NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus
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.
Ron Thiele Superintendent