WFIS Covid-19 Resources

The latest information & policy related to private schools

Key Topics

Preparing for School in Fall
8.7.20
 
Would you like to see when schools are opening across the country? A School Opening Date Tracker from Education Week that allows you to search by public school district.
 
The CDC has released a School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers, and Guardians to help them determine whether to send their children back to school in person. This may be helpful to provide additional guidance to your school families who are uncertain.
 
____
 
7.14.20
 
Are you looking for a simple way to keep track of Student Health Checks that has little to no cost?  A WFIS Member shared this Microsoft Form for Daily Health Screening at the K-12 school leaders Zoom which you can edit, send to your families and keep track of responses.
 
________________
 
6.24.20
 
WIAA has published new Guidance for School Athletic and Activities Programs for “reopening” fall school sports and activities.
Revisions made on June 23 include the following:
 
  1. No gathering of more than 6 total people (5 students and 1 coach) at a time (inside or outside).
  2. Workouts should be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5 students always working out together. Smaller pods can be utilized for weight training. Pods should remain separate with at least 6 feet of physical distance between each pod throughout each workout. The students in a pod should be consistent from day to day. This ensures more limited exposure if someone develops an infection. Coaches may work with multiple pods if they practice appropriate physical distancing from students.
 
The WIAA guidance includes the following recommendations:
  • Using face coverings by coaches and students
  • Preparing for interruptions and school closures throughout the year.
  • Limiting travel.
  • Holding training and practicing outdoors.
_______________
 
6.15.20
 

The Rosner Space Planning Tool, developed by Ari & Rahel Rosner configures classrooms for CV-19 healthy distancing. Those who attended last Friday’s K-12 Zoom chat found it to be a planning game changer!  And is FREE to all schools.

 
Here is the link to the recording Password: 2s.?+1%s
 
An explanation of the Rosner Planning Model as pdf is viewable HERE.  
The actual Rosner Planning Tool is an XLSM worksheet* which can be dowloaded HERE.
*Chose YES when asked if you want to enable Macros or the file won’t function as intended.
___________________
 
6.11.20
 
WFIS convened a task force to discuss issues and guidance for reopening private schools. The group created the WFIS Reopening School Resource
for Washington private schools based on one written by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. For many on the task force, it was their first time working with school leaders outside of their accreditation organizations.
 
OSPI’s Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide is now available on the OSPI website.  If you missed Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s press conference on the intention to reopen all schools in Fall, it can viewed on the OSPI Facebook page.  
 
Additionally, here is WA State Department of Health’s K-12 Schools – Fall 2020-2021 Guidance.
________________
 
6.4.20
 
Highlights from today’s Helsell Fetterman webinar –
 
1) Tracking you will need to remain a viable school come fall 2020:
  • cleaning
  • health checks without violating laws on personal information
  • advisory notices to parents with effort to update contact information
  • training and attendance
 
2) Enrollment contract protections through clarity of obligations:
  • when does tuition become non-refundable
  • who bears the risk of non-performance
  • what are you promising to provide
 
3) Contracts for employment and retaining the agility for your school:
  • “At Will” status in contract and in handbook
  • Tying employment to enrollment or financial stability factors
  • a job description that allows for remote instruction
  • “Force Majeure”

Additionally, some schools are asking if they can have parents sign a waiver to not sue.  This is not a sensible approach and truly sends the wrong message. It is also very likely that it is unenforceable!  Instead, have parents sign an “Acknowledgement of Risk” which conveys a collaborative and supportive tenor while providing clarity.

_______________________________

6.2.20

WFIS Reopening Task Force guidance will come out nearly next week along with OSPI Guidance for Public Schools that is expected to be made public on Monday.  As OSPI guidance may be useful to private schools, WFIS will review and post relevant details here.  The WFIS Reopening Task Force will have detailed concepts and suggestions applicable to our schools which WFIS will share with all private schools via email and on this resource page. Check back next week…

________________________

5.22.20

Updating employee contracts and human resources amid Covid-19 will require new thinking.  Fisher Phillips has a webpage full of information for schools. Here is a link to their HR Considerations

__________________________

5.13.20

WFIS was invited to participate on the OSPI Reopening Washington School 2020-21 Workgroup today.  The 6 hour meeting included breakout sessions to allow small groups to dive deeply into a set of scenarios of what an open school might look like next year.   The DOH described three potential virus patterns beginning in the fall as businesses start to open:

1. A spike in Sept/Oct that would close schools down.
2. A rolling high and low all year, which would stop and go schools all year.
3. A ’slow burn’ which is what we have now. Deaths/cases not slowing down dramatically and not improving dramatically.

We will continue the hard work of walking through the scenarios of opening schools with the public school group, while hosting our own conversations as a private school group. WFIS needs to be clear on how private schools will handle reopening. This will inform the advocacy we do to request independence (or not) from the Governor’s decisions about the public schools.

WFIS has established a work group of private school leaders who will walk through scenarios and think deeply about how private schools might open in the fall. These answers and conversations will inform our advocacy with Governor Inslee’s Office and OSPI.

____________________________

Questions to Consider for Reopening Your School

ACSI outlined a set of questions to consider while you plan to reopen your schools.  You may need to plan for “stops and starts” next year.
If this happens:
  • How will you do assessments with students?
  • Does distance learning become an optional path for all?
  • Should we continue formal education over the summer?
  • What about modified bus routes to accommodate fewer students?
  • Should meals be served in classrooms or in a staggered lunch schedule?
  • Should time that students spend on campus be staggered to accommodate social distancing?
  • Should there be a morning and afternoon shift?
  • Do we limit access to campus to students and teachers only, no parents, volunteers, or vendors?
  • How will we do ongoing and regular health screenings for staff and students?
  • Should we modify our policies for absences to encourage people with symptoms to stay home?
  • When will we send a student home and for how long?
  • What do athletics and other events look like?
  • What kind of PPE (personal protective equipment) should be used and by whom?
  • How will we increase our cleaning schedule and budget in order to sanitize effectively?
  • How do we do social distancing in transition times? enrichment classes? recess?
PPE bulk purchasing opportunity
8.7.20
 
Reminder – the bulk PPE statewide deliveries to all participants are expected 8.20 – 9.4
 
_______________
 
6.8.20
 
Private schools can join the bid to secure large volume PPE for WA State Schools through a procured group contract with ESD 112.
 
Details:
  1. Schools that are interested must submit a letter of intent to ESD 112 no later than June 19, 2020 with the type and quantity of PPE your school wants to purchase.
  2. ESD112 will secure competitive contracts and commit to place orders for the type and quantity of PPE all schools identify in their letters of intent.
  3. ESD112 will email each school the bid prices for the PPE within forty-eight hours following bid opening.
  4. Each school may modify the type and quantity of PPE that it wants to purchase, if it sends a reply email to the ESD within five (5) business days of the date the ESD emailed the bid prices to the school.
  5. Failure to notify the ESD of changes within five (5) date will result in ESD 112 ordering the type and quantity of PPE in the School’s letter of intent. Once ESD 112 orders PPE for the School, the School is responsible for and shall pay ESD 112 for the PPE.
  6. ESD 112 will purchase and receive the PPE the School identifies and coordinate delivery to a regional location to your school. Upon delivery of goods to School, ESD112 will invoice the School.

Schools that already completed the survey are invited to access this Purchasing Agreement Form to participate in the statewide group bid. https://webdoc.esd112.org/Forms/PPE  *Complete all fields requested on the form and follow the prompts to submit the completed form.

 
Didn’t do the survey but want to participate?
Contact Jeff Shrunk at ESD 112 Jeff.strunk@esd112.org requesting to be included in this opportunity.
CARES Act & PPP

8.6.20

Another federal relief package is working its way through Congress. CAPE is watching carefully and advocating for private schools. There is a push for 10% of whatever is allocated for K12 schools to go to private schools in one of 2 ways:
1. a direct appropriation to the private schools or
2. money for scholarships for children to attend private schools.
 
State private school organizations are advocating strongly that the money go to scholarships. If you would like to lend your voice to the request, please contact WFIS with your perspective.
 
August 4th the Small Business Administration released a new FAQ related to forgiveness of the PPP loans.  Revies this analysis of the new guidance from Salmon Sims Thomas.
 
Another round of PPP funding is being discussed. It will likely target smaller businesses and require proof of significant revenue loss to qualify.

___________________

6.11.20

Recipient of a PPP Loan?

In receiving a PPP loan, a private school must certify that it will comply with several Small Business Administration  regulations regarding civil rights/anti-discrimination laws until the loan is fully forgiven or repaid. In particular, schools receiving PPP loans are obligated to comply with the following federal laws:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, color, or national origin);
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity);
  • The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (prohibiting discrimination against any person on the basis of age); and
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (prohibiting discrimination against a qualified individual with a handicap).

In addition there are a number of procedural requirements imposed by SBA’s Title IX regulations.  Some of the key compliance requirements include:

  • Appointing a Title IX coordinator to receive and investigate complaints;
  • Providing notice to all students and employees of the name and contact information for the coordinator;
  • Adopting Title IX compliant grievance procedures for the “prompt and equitable resolution” of complaints;
  • Providing notice of a Title IX compliant non-discrimination statement to all applicants for admission and employment, students, parents and employees, which comply with the regulations and including such notice in all school publications, admissions, and employment materials, as prescribed by the regulations.

If an independent school chooses to take advantage of the longer deadlines set forth in the PPPFA, its obligation to comply with these federal laws will be triggered for a longer period.

___________________

6.3.20

PPP Flexibility Act passed Congress and now awaits the President’s signature. Once signed, the bill will:

  • Extend the “covered period” for PPP loans from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Reduce the 75% payroll requirement. Specifically, it expands the 25% cap to use PPP funds on non-payroll expenses to 40% of the total loan.
  • It will extend the loan terms for any unforgiven portions that need to be repaid from 2 years to 5 years, at 1% interest.
  • Extend the June 30 rehiring deadline.
  • Remove limits on loan forgiveness for small businesses and nonprofits that were unable to rehire employees, hire new employees or return to the same level of business activity as before the virus.
  • Allow payroll tax deferment for PPP recipients.
  • Extend the period for when a business can apply for loan forgiveness, from six months to ten months after the last day of the covered period.

__________________

5.22.20

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF)intended to support schools’ recovery from the current pandemic, will not reach most of WA State’s private schools.  WFIS was told the Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction will not be following the federal guidelines for disbursement of these relief funds, and thus is denying most private schools in our state – those not previously designated Title I –  access to support.
 
WFIS will continue to work with Superintendent Chris Reykdal to establish a more equitable and supportive way to understand the current Cares Act Law.

_________________

Update 5/1/20

This Guidance from the US Department of Education explains how the CARES Act Relief Funds will support private school students.  WFIS will be meeting with OSPI to clarify best next steps. It is likely that consultation between every private school and their local school district representative will begin quickly.

Small Business Loans

Schools are starting to receive PPP Loans.  Remember to keep careful records, place the money into its own bank account, and understand what your responsibilities are and what federal expectations you must abide by.  Congress also appropriated more funds for the low interest fixed-rate EIDL Loans available for schools and businesses for up to $2 million dollars.  EIDL can’t be used for anything that the PPP loan is covering. Contact your local lender for more information on this program.

_________________________________

CARES Act Update 4/2/20

Federal Government support for our private schools will become more clear in the weeks ahead, but at this point in time the CARES ACT – Payroll Protection Program (PPP) with Loan Forgiveness is an avenue schools should actively be considering to pursue.  WFIS advises school leaders to:
  • Contact your bank about the PPP Loan program
  • Engage your Operations of Finance Leader in your school to access the needed data for Payroll Cost calculations.
  • Discuss this approach with your Board.
  • Stay in contact with WFIS and your constituency group leadership about this and other aspects of Governor’s Relief funds.

These pdf files will help guide you through the next steps:

Paycheck Protection Program Application

sba cares..reference documents

CARES Act PPP Calculation

Early Learning & Childcare
8.5.20
 
School leaders that attended the DCYF meeting on yesterday left dismayed by the announcement that:
  • Licensors are allowed to enter a school AFTER entering other school buildings, potentially infecting many schools over the course of a day.
  • Licensors are planning to take up to 4 hours of a Director’s time to walk through paperwork, instead of allowing Director time to concentrate on COVID protocol during a work day.

WFIS advises providers to call your licensor to iterate that in the time of COVID, neither of these is safe practice.

__________________________

 
5.15.20
 
Application portal is now open for the Child Care Development Block Grant’s CARE Act.
Here is the link to the DCYF Grant Portal. After you log in, select the Child Care COVID-19 Grant tab. For questions about logging in, go to DCYF.

___________________________

Friday May 11, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) announced NEW support to child care providers under the Child Care Development Block Grant’s CARE Act.  This grant is available to any WA State licensed child care provider that is open and providing child care on the date of the grant application and intends to remain open through the end of July.  WFIS and other organizations remain dedicated to working with DCYF so that early learning providers attain the support critical to remain essential service providers during these difficult times.

Providers may apply to receive these one-time funds. An online application will be available in DCYF’s licensed provider portal WA Compass, hopefully by May 20.  In the application you’ll answer a series of questions, and you must complete the application in its entirety in one session.

A flat amount for each interested licensed provider that is open and providing service through July will be based on DCYF’s WA Compass and MERIT licensed capacity data below:

  • $6,500 to Small providers (0-49)
  • $11,500 to Medium providers (50-99)
  • $14,000 to Large providers (100-150+)

Funds can be spent on facility/space rent, personnel, utilities, health and safety/cleaning supplies and food.

Here is the link to the DCYF GovDelivery grant announcement and the link to DOH’s May 8th updated guidelines on Child Care During the Covid-19 Outbreak

_____________________________

(post from late April 2020)

WFIS is working with our partners at the Department of Children, Youth and Families, and the DOH to suggest safety measures that fit early education.  The Department of Health offers guidelines for keeping children and teachers safe at school. These guidelines can serve as a framework for programs to develop their own policies and best practices. It is suggested that schools create clear expectations and policies around safety for parents to agreement to before starting back. Contact your insurance provider and lawyer to understand whether not following the guidance would leave a school liable should anyone get sick.

Here are some highlights of the guidance to think about:

  1. Limit rooms to 10 occupants, children and staff included. Don’t mix groups of 10 people for any reason. Do your best to keep groups the same each day.
  2. Stagger things as much as possible. This includes outside play, eating, and drop-off and pick-up.
  3. Check-in procedures: staff should wear gloves during screening. Children’s temperature should be taken every day, either before they come to the school or by the parent/guardian when they arrive. In the absence of a thermometer from the parent/guardian, staff should provide a clean thermometer and check the child’s temperature by reaching around a protective barrier. Staff should ask questions about child and family health.
  4. Clean and sanitize hands-on materials often and after each use. Remove toys and materials that are hard to clean.
  5. Staff and older children should wear cloth face coverings if possible. Staff who need to hold toddlers and infants should wear long-sleeved, oversized outerwear when holding children and remove any clothes (staff or child’s) that get bodily fluids on it. Staff should was their hands and any other place the infant/toddler touched them while being held.

Here is a PDF of the DOH Guidance for Childcare during the Covid-19 Outbreak

Title Funds Support

7.26.20

The Federal Department of Education outlined two new formulas for distributing CARES money that break from a traditional formula commonly used by the Federal government to disburse funds to schools. The Education Department says districts must use one of the two new formulas.
 
Under the first formula, private schools in Seattle would receive about 19% of the CARES Act money. Using the second formula, Seattle public schools would only be able to use the money at Title I schools (not across all schools in that district).  Under the traditional formula, Seattle private schools would have received about 3.4% of the federal money allocated to Seattle with Seattle public schools receiving the remainder.
 
Only the private schools with students designated as Title 1 will receive any funding at all from the CARES Act. The Districts want to be able to use the CARES Act money for all of their schools not just the ones that generate Title 1 money.  Hence the lawsuit.

_______________

4/12/20  Title Funds FAQ 

Is participation in CARES ACT funding separate from the Private Participation in Federal Programs application that was due April 30?

Yes, they are different, but similar.  Participation in the CARES Act should not be dependent on participation in Federal Title Funds, which was due in April.
 
The guidance for the CARES Act and how the funds should be distributed came out last week, but is being challenged by the Chiefs of State.  If the government decides to change the guidance, then the rules may change.  They have a year to work out the dispute and distribute the funds.  As the guidance stands now, private schools are included in the relief funds and participation is NOT dependent on a school’s indication they want to participate in Federal Programs.

____________________________

Title Funds Update 4/6/20

WFIS is working with OSPI Ombuds advocating for as much flexibility in use of current ESEA and soon to be delivered Education Stabilization Funds as possible.

WA State is going to submit the waiver application granting flexibility as described in today’s announcement from Secretary Devos, but clarity on the aspects that will be used in our State have yet to be determined.

The Covid-19 Virus is a public health issue so similar to a natural disaster and therefore it is expected to qualify schools for applying a carryover in any of the areas of the Title Funds.  Whether a written petition is needed to apply for this carryover will be determined in the week(s) to come.

 

Worker Safety and Health Requirements

7.15.20

The Washington Department of Occupational Safety and Health (L&I) is requiring that employees be trained on COVID-19 infection prevention.  Some regional ESDs offer a Safe Schools e-learning partnership and can have employees complete a Covid-19 training course online. Other schools can use another method such as this powerpoint CoronavirusEmployeeTrainingLI.   Because L&I could cite schools under the General Duty Clause that requires employees to be trained and protected against any recognized hazard, employees that are currently working should be trained as soon as possible and others trained before they return to the workplace.  We recommend schools review and post this PDF from L&I with other workplace posters for staff  Covid Prevention LNI.

___________________

6.12.20 

The following is taken from the OSPI Reopening WA Schools 2020 Planning Guide, pages 24-26, reflecting the changes made by OSPI since the document was launched last week.

All schools have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy worksite in accordance with state and federal law, following safety and health rules for a variety of workplace hazards.  Schools must comply with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices as outlined in the Governor’s orders enacted now and in the future, and in accordance with L&I General Requirements & Prevention Ideas for Workplaces and the DOH Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations, implementing any amendments or changes to these requirements in accordance with the timelines provided in the amendments issued by these agencies.

K–12 employers must specifically ensure operations follow the main L&I COVID-19 requirements to protect workers, including:

  1. Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus and how to prevent transmission and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.
  2. Limit all indoor spaces to a capacity in which a six-foot distance can be kept between all staff, students, and others.
  3. Maintaining a minimum six-foot separation is required between all employees, students, and others to the maximum extent feasible. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, the employer is required to provide additional prevention measures, such as use of barriers, personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides a higher level of protection, minimize the number of staff or students in the enclosed areas, and stagger breaks, recesses and work shift starts.
  4. Provide at no cost to employees and require to be worn PPE such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face coverings or masks as appropriate or required for the activity being performed. Cloth facial coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the jobsite unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under L&I safety and health rules and guidance with the following exceptions: when working alone in an office, vehicle, or at a job site; if the individual is deaf or hard of hearing, or is communicating with someone who relies on language cues such as facial markers and expression and mouth movements as a part of communication; if the individual has a medical condition or disability that makes wearing a facial covering inappropriate; or when the job has no in- Page | 25 person interaction. Refer to Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements for additional details. A cloth facial covering is described in DOH guidance.
  5. Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use disposable gloves where safe and applicable to prevent transmission on tools or other items that are shared.
  6. Increase the frequency of facility cleaning schedules that includes cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces – which shall be no less stringent or frequent than what is required by the Department of Health for K–12 schools.
  7. Screen employees, students, and any other individual who will be at the school facility for more than 15 minutes, for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at start of every shift, including taking temperatures prior to the start of each workday or shift.
  8. Make sure sick employees and students stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick.
  9. Cordon off any areas where an employee or students with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc. until the area and equipment is cleaned and sanitized. Follow the cleaning guidelines established by the Department of Health to deep clean and sanitize.

A site-specific COVID-19 supervisor shall be designated by the employer at each school and other work site to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 job site safety plan.

A worker may refuse to perform unsafe work, including hazards created by COVID-19. And, it is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against a worker who has engaged in safety-protected activities under the law if the individual’s work refusal meets certain requirements. Information is available in the Safety and Health Discrimination in the Workplace brochure and Spanish Safety and Health Discrimination brochure.

Employees who choose to remove themselves from a worksite because they do not believe it is safe to work due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure may have access to certain leave or unemployment benefits. Employers must provide high-risk individuals with their choice of access to available employer-granted accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work arrangement is not feasible.

Other employees may have access to expanded family and medical leave included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, access to use unemployment benefits, or access to other paid time off depending on the circumstances. Additional information is available at Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) Resources and Paid Leave under the WA Family Care Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

No school district may operate until they can meet and maintain all the requirements in this document, including providing materials, schedules, and equipment required to comply. Additional considerations may be adopted, as appropriate.

Generally, the K–12 school environment is considered a medium risk transmission area where work is inside a structure/office where at least six-foot distance is mostly maintained but with job tasks that require several minutes of six-foot distance broken several times a day. In a medium risk transmission area or higher risk level, a cloth mask is not sufficient without additional controls. There may be some work environments that represent a higher or lower risk, and in those cases, the employer is authorized to adopt the requirements for each work environment separately, or may adopt a single set of requirements provided they address the highest risk work environment at the work site.

To address workplace safety and health risks, the following requirements exist in school settings:

  • All employees are required to use at least a cloth face covering that fully covers mouth and nose. Additional personal protective equipment or other controls are required for workers in medium and higher risk transmission areas.
  • All students and other individuals who will be in a school facility for greater than 15 minutes are required to use cloth face coverings that fully covers mouth and nose or higher protection.
  • For employees or students who cannot or should not wear masks consistent with DOH exemption criteria, the employer must provide additional safeguards to address the additional risk, such as:
    • The employee providing the service remotely or students receiving the service(s) remotely,
    • The use of face shields and other protective equipment combined with additional measures that limit the risk that individuals will not come into contact closer than 6 feet, or
    • Implementing other specific procedures and/or accommodations that mitigate the added COVID-19 risks due to the lack of a cloth face covering.

For K–12 employees who do not work in the school/classroom environment, employers will implement L&I’s health and safety standards that are best suited for each job class (grounds/landscapers, carpenters, non-school based food service workers, warehouse workers, etc.).

All requirements in this section are subject to additional review and revision by the Department of Health and the Department of Labor & Industries, in conjunction with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additional supplementary documents and guidance are anticipated to be produced prior to the start of school to clarify expectations and provide examples for specific situations.

Summer Camps & Summer Learning
6.23.20
 
Today the DOH released updated guidance regarding child care, youth development, and summer day camps which you can access HERE
 
___________________
 
6.11.20
 
Today the WA State Department of Health released K-12 Schools – Summer 2020 Guidance which is footnoted stating “also includes preschool programs the school district administers, and school-to post-school transition programs for students with individualized education programs (IEP) ages 18-21
 
___________________
 
5.27.20
 
New Childcare, Day Camp and Youth Programming Guidance from the Washington State Department of Health has been posted today at this link:
 
Important things to note:
–          Any day camp the includes sports related activities must also follow forthcoming guidance for youth sports.
–          Not included in this guide:
  • Overnight Camps
  • Youth sports and athletics (example: leagues, recreation teams, clubs)
  • Activities included as part of K-12 basic education or special education programs
And a reminder that:
–          Schools are closed through June 19. Summer Day Camp and Youth Programming included in this guidance may begin on or after June 20.
–          The Safe Start plan for reopening Washington state does not address childcare or education.
–          Child care has remained open and may continue to operate.
 
________________________
 
5.22.20 
 
Schools looking to offer summer camps after June 19th, should use the CDC Guidance for Schools & Day Camps in conjunction with updates from their local health authority when planning.  The American Camp Association also released this field guide for camps that gives detailed advice about activities popular at camps.
 
________________________
 
5.13.20
 
There are two statewide work-groups developing guidelines and strategies for providing summer camps, with COVID-19 restrictions in mind, to all age-levels.
 
Schools looking to offer summer (seasonal) camps, after June 19th, may find the CDC Re-Opening Guidance information useful to both summer and fall program planning.
As soon as clear policy is put forth, WFIS will notify all private schools of the specifications.

_________________________

Options for Summer are expected to be clarified in May by the Governor.  WFIS has communicated to the Governor’s office ideas for private schools to offer safe summer learning, childcare and camps.

Current Guidelines on Use of School Buildings

The information below is part of OSPI’s BULLETIN NO. 031-20 EXECUTIVE SERVICES  In his April 6 extension of the school closure order through June 19, the Governor provided additional language allowing certain other activities within school facilities if they are deemed necessary and essential.  Based on the Governor’s proclamations, OSPI provided the following updated guidance regarding the use of school facilities:

 
Per the Governor’s directive, during mandatory closures, school districts are prohibited from providing in-person educational, recreational, and other K–12 school programs using their school buildings and facilities.
 
Districts will not be prevented from using their facilities to provide child care, for individual staff to remotely lead or develop content for professional learning or staff meetings, to hold Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, to provide direct services to individual students, or for other activities deemed essential and necessary by the district administration. If districts determine that the use school facilities to provide educational services is essential and necessary under state or federal law, the following guidelines must be followed:
 
  1. Consistent with the timeline of the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy directive, no group meetings of staff, including for professional learning or staff meetings, should occur. School districts should utilize online, phone, or other alternatives to address this need. 
  2. Facilities should only be used for providing direct services to individual students where there is no alternative for the service delivery and both the service is necessary and essential AND the use of the facility is both necessary and essential. This is expected to be an unusual occurrence. 
  3. Facilities are not to be used for providing direct services to groups of students. 
  4. Any gatherings within school facilities must comply with applicable social distancing directives and health guidelines. Districts must continue to monitor and implement guidance from state and local health officials.
Testing

To keep students safe, and in alignment with public health guidance and school closures across 192 countries, the College Board Administration will not be able to administer the SAT or SAT Subject Tests on June 6, 2020.  Students can transfer their June registration to a 2020-21 administration when registration opens for 2020-21 test dates.  Students will be emailed on the evening of Thursday, May 28 with more information. Eligible students can register with a fee waiver.  SATs will not be offered to be taken from home as this has proven to present both technical and equity issues.

Fall 2020 SAT Dates:
  • August 29
  • September 26
  • October 3
  • November 7
  • December 5

_________________________

In person AP exams cancelled

Traditional face-to-face AP exam administrations will not take place for the 2019-2020 academic year.  For the 2019–20 exam administration only, students can take a 45-minute online exam at home. There will be 2 different testing dates for each AP subject.

New at-home testing option. Additional details are now available around exam features, time and tasks, scores, and security.  LEARN MORE

Students will be able to take these streamlined exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option.

Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, you can attend free, live AP review courses, delivered by AP teachers from across the country. These courses:

  • Are optional, mobile-friendly, and can be used alongside any work your teacher may give you.
  • Will be available on-demand, so you can access them any time.
  • Will focus on reviewing the skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course. There will also be some supplementary lessons covering the final 25% of the course.

Updates: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update?excmpid=FB-ED-CB-1

Remote Learning Resources:

https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates#free-ap-classes

Graduation

5.13.20

Graduation Guidelines

Schools need to know how to best support their seniors. With the onslaught of questions from high schools in the state, the Department of Health developed guidance. Here are the graduation guidelines.

________________________________

Create contingency plans to hold graduation and promotion ceremonies when it is safe to do so.

It is unlikely that traditional graduation ceremonies and promotion assemblies will be allowed this spring as convening large groups during this time is still inadvisable.  WFIS has asked Governor’s office for consideration and flexibility to convene school in some manner before the end of the academic year to bring communities back to gather to help remind families of the community they are invested in.

While there is a small chance that graduation ceremonies may be permissible for some smaller school communities in June, doing so may be perceived as a risk by many in your school community. Some parents will refuse to allow their children to participate and others will be angered by the fact that they are being required to make that choice.

What Schools Can Do Now About Graduation

    • Develop plans to hold virtual graduation ceremonies.
    • Develop the capability to webcast these events to allow family members to view the event.
    • Develop plans to equitably include medically fragile students who are graduating.
    • Create contingency plans but hold off on scheduling events until there is greater clarity on when and if these events will be allowable.
Private School Approval & Waivers
6.4.20
 
Each private school that was approved at the May SBE meeting can download their State Board of Education certificate HERE
__________________
 
5.22.20
 
At the May 2020 State Board of Education meeting, private schools that completed their re-approval / approval application by the April 15th deadline were approved for the 2020-21 academic year.  A handful of private schools still need to complete their Approval Application to be operational in September.  Go here: https://www.sbe.wa.gov/our-work/private-schools/private-school-approval to complete your schools application no later than June 15th!
 
_____________________________________

 

The deadline for Private School Approval Applications was extended to April 15, 2020. Schools that submitted their completed application by April 15 will have their approval addressed at the May 2020 State Board of Education meeting.  As of April 20th SBE reported that 410 private schools had submitted their approval applications – thank you!  More information about the approval process may be found on State Board of Education private school approval web page.

If your school has not completed the application yet, please do ASAP.

_______________________________________

The State Board of Education passed Emergency Rules on Waivers that directly relate to private schools. Section 180-111-050 Emergency waiver for private schools outlines the following rules:
  • Authorize private schools to waive credit-based graduation requirements for individual students who were on-track to graduate by the end of the 2019-20 school year.
  • Releases private schools from the requirement of providing a certain number of days or instructional hours for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Permits private schools that were approved in 2019-20 to start the 2020-21 school year as online-only schools if the school determines it is necessary.
  • Requires that private schools notify the State Board of Education of the use of these provisions.

Private schools that use either waiver need to complete this quick 7-question Emergency Waiver Notification 2020 before the end of September 2020.  Additionally, SBE has posted a FAQ page addressing the emergency rules & waivers for private schools.

 
IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND
  • If your school has been providing students continuous education through online methods since the Governor’s shutdown, there is no need to use a waiver of instructional hours / days. If your graduating seniors participate in your online education and you deem them having successfully learned / completed the required material, there is no need to use a waiver of graduation requirements.
  • End-of-school dates are at the discretion of each private school.  Each school is responsible for the progression of learning for each of their students.  Because no school has been able to do these days/hours in person, those without online programs will need a waiver.  Those schools offering online learning will not need a waiver.
  • The notification requirement is intended to report data back to the legislators on the emergency law that they passed.

_______________________________________________

From 3/27/20

The State Legislature passed a new law (EHB 2965) supporting the state’s response to the novel coronavirus. This law includes a provision (see Section 10) that allows the State Board of Education grant an emergency waiver to local education agencies (e.g., school districts, etc.) and private schools. The waiver 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.

Under the emergency waiver program, the State Board of Education may waive credit-based graduation requirements in addition to school day and instructional hour requirements for private schools. The law does not require an application for the private schools’ waiver.
 
The State Board of Education is working with partners to review different scenarios and considerations to ensure the program rules effectively support students, schools, and communities. The Board vote to adopt emergency rules is scheduled for the 8th.  If all goes according to schedule, the draft rules will be available for review by the public on April 6, with the deadline for public comment on the rules due the next day.

Grading & Transcripts

May 14, 2020

 
It was suggested that all transcripts indicate the circumstances of COVID-19 with an explanation of the decision your Superintendent made about grading. 

___________________

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal has shared the OSPI Guidance on Grading that may be useful to private schools in developing their own policies.

The emergency rules that OSPI is adopting require schools to provide a letter grade or an ‘incomplete’ on transcripts. There will be no pass/fail or ‘no credit’ designation, and it will be impossible for students to receive and “F” grade. The intent of these rules is to do no harm to students and accommodate for inequities that are exacerbated by online learning systems. An ‘incomplete’ designation will be assigned for students that “cannot engage [in coursework] in an equitable way”. For students that receive an ‘incomplete’, the Superintendent Chris Reykdal explained in his debriefing video, “it’s not a fail, it doesn’t hurt the GPA, it’s not a withdraw, it’s not a no credit, it’s a sort of pause.” Students will have a chance to complete the class and earn a grade through a variety of options:

  • Summer school
  • Online courses
  • Independent study
  • Competency-based courses
  • Backfilling grades from the grade of the next course taken in the subject area
  • Courses in the next term or year

In addition to the grading policy, OSPI has also announced that all high school transcripts will have a designator that means the class was taken during the COVID-19 school closures. This is meant to ease stress about future evaluations of transcripts for students.

These are the bullet points they’re giving:

Grades 9–12 and middle school students taking credit-bearing high school level work will be graded using the following principles:

    1. Do no harm!
    2. Every student will get an opportunity to improve their grade with their March 17 status as a baseline.
    3. No student will receive a “pass,” “fail,” or “no credit” grade for any course.
    4. Teachers will assign grades or assign an “incomplete” for students that cannot engage in an equitable way.
    5. Every class taken during the closure period will be given a statewide designator on the high school transcript to denote the unique environment in which the course was taken.
    6. Students assigned an “incomplete” for a course will be given opportunities to re-engage in the learning standards based on local school district decisions in consultation with the student/parents/guardians, including but not limited to:
      • Summer school,
      • Courses in the following term or year,
      • Independent study,
      • Competency-based courses,
      • Online courses, or
      • Backfilling the incomplete grade with the letter grade obtained in the next course taken in that subject area.
    7. All students will be given an opportunity to engage in continuous learning to maintain or improve their mastery of essential standards.

https://www.k12.wa.us/about-ospi/press-releases/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-resources

______________________________
Higher Ed

The Washington Colleges and Universities are committed to holding harmless the seniors for their transcripts this year, but have not come out with a unified position on how underclassmen’s transcripts will be viewed in the admissions process.  This is understandably making students, parents and school counselors very nervous.

WFIS continues to meet with higher ed leadership weekly.  Here is a link to a joint statement by WA Council of Presidents and the Independent Colleges of WA: https://councilofpresidents.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Fall-2020-Admission-Statement.pdf

WFIS at Work

As WFIS responds to Covid-19 questions from private schools, we’ll post answers and where ever possible provide links to appropriate resources.

If you have a question that is not being resolved, please contact us directly, and we’ll do our best to get you an accurate answer.

It’s unsafe for most of Washington students to return to school buildings this fall, state says

It’s unsafe for most of Washington students to return to school buildings this fall, state says

Unlike the spring, when Inslee mandated school closures first in several counties, and then statewide, these recommendations aren’t binding. Inslee said he is concerned schools that open too quickly could spur outbreaks or worsen community spread but is confident most districts will follow the new guidance. He said he decided against local or statewide mandates because school boards in Washington have traditionally had authority to make such decisions.

State Board of Education notice on safe return to school plans

Public and private schools in Washington are developing plans for a safe return to school this fall so they can deliver the best possible educational experience to their students.  All schools will follow safety guidelines of official state and local health agencies. While following the same guidance, each school and community is different so schools may make different decisions on opening and on how to teach and interact with students.

Despite COVID-19, some Puget Sound schools prepping for in-class learning this fall

“The health departments have been doing extraordinary jobs in keeping us informed on how and what to do in these scenarios. Luckily, private schools have some agility and size that allows them to make those determinations within their buildings” stated Suzie Hanson, executive director of the WA Federation of Independent Schools.