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WFIS Covid-19 Resources

The latest information & policy related to private schools

WFIS Covid-19 Resource Page retired effective 2/1/2021

Get most current information on our WFIS Agency and Committee News page and our Legislation and Policy Updates page.

Key Topics

Private School Approval & Waivers
The State Board of Education Private Schools Office has hired Nicole Mulhausen to lend support with answering questions and streamlining the approval process for private schools.

SBE has announced legislation for 2021 Emergency waiver of instructional hours and days at private schools.  This legislation would give the State Board of Education authority to waive instructional hours and days for private schools that are unable to fulfill the minimum requirements due to significant disruption caused by an emergency.  Read the Draft bill and the SBE 2021 Legislative Platform.

Each private school that was approved at the May SBE meeting can download their State Board of Education certificate HERE
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: 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.

  • 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.

Worker Safety and Health Requirements


WA State is aligned with the updated CDC quarantine guidance.
Washington State Department of Health (pg 13) and CDC currently recommend a quarantine period of 14 days, but there are circumstances that allow for a shortened quarantine. These include:
  • If a person who is in quarantine has no symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 10.
  • If a person who is in quarantine receives a negative COVID-19 test and has no symptoms, quarantine can end after Day 7. They must get tested within 48 hours before ending quarantine.
  • It is critical that the person who has been in quarantine continues to monitor their symptoms and wear a mask through Day 14.
Most private schools and many regional county health departments have reported that they are maintaining the stricter guidance as best practice to keep their campus community as safe and constantly operable as possible.



The DOH updated its Decision Tree today. Highlights include:

  • In communities with moderate COVID-19 activity, DOH recommends careful phasing in of in-person learning, starting with elementary. Then, over time, if schools can demonstrate the ability to limit transmission in the school environment, schools should add in-person learning for middle and high school.
  • Flexibility for schools to cautiously phase in extracurricular activities as they incorporate in-person learning based on disease activity level, prioritizing educational opportunities over extracurricular activities.



The office of Lacy Fehrenbach, Public health educator/manager at Washington State Department of Health, has highlighted the aspects most relevant to schools in the Employer Health & Safety Requirements for School Scenarios released conjointly by OSPI, DOH & L&I.

Following are the key points:

  • The overall health risk for the typical K–12 in-person instructional setting is classified as low-risk, requiring a cloth face covering for staff. There are other scenarios in the school setting where the risk level may be higher or lower.
  • Consistent with the memo from L&I Secretary Joel Sacks last Friday, N95 respirators are not required for all school staff.
  • N95 respirators (or equivalent) are only required in high-risk or very high-risk situations. If an employer cannot reasonably obtain an N95 or equivalent, they may use a face shield plus an FDA-approved surgical mask, procedural mask, or a KN95 mask until a respirator can be obtained.
  • We have also heard a misunderstanding related to PPE requirements in medium-risk environments. L&I’s long-standing guidance allows for several different protection options in medium-risk environments, including a face shield plus a cloth face mask, a surgical-style mask, a hobby dust mask, a KN95 mask, or a KN90 mask.

For all risk levels, you can find different face covering and respirator options in L&I’s Which Mask for Which Task? document.



Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission webpage was updated on June 17, 2020 outlining a lot of the questions schools have regarding employee accommodations in lieu of Covid-19.
WFIS has selected a few Q&As based on what we have heard from schools:
How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
During a pandemic, ADA-covered employers may ask such employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these include symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.
Is an employee entitled to an accommodation under the ADA in order to avoid exposing a family member who is at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition?  
No. Although the ADA prohibits discrimination based on association with an individual with a disability, that protection is limited to disparate treatment or harassment. The ADA does not require that an employer accommodate an employee without a disability based on the disability-related needs of a family member or other person with whom she is associated.
For example, an employee without a disability is not entitled under the ADA to telework as an accommodation in order to protect a family member with a disability from potential COVID-19 exposure.
Of course, an employer is free to provide such flexibilities if it chooses to do so. An employer choosing to offer additional flexibilities beyond what the law requires should be careful not to engage in disparate treatment on a protected EEO basis.
Read other Q&A’s WFIS has gotten from schools here.



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.



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.

Academic Testing

December 16, 2020

Alternate Entry to 2022 National Merit® Scholarship Program
Typically high school juniors preSAT test scores are the entry to the National Merit Scholarship program. Students unable to take the test in person in January will be able to alternately use their SAT scores by following a few key steps set out by the College Board. Learn more HERE.


September 15, 2020  

The Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 SAT dates are set to go forward as planned and there are four test dates in October to take the ACT: Oct. 10, 17, 24 and 25. Students should also expect some new protocols when testing, including wearing a mask while taking the test and receiving a COVID-19 screening before entering the testing center.
Following cancellations this spring and summer to both exams, many colleges went test-optional for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and some for even longer, launching two- or three-year pilot programs.


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.


Remote Learning Resources:

Contact Tracing and Covid Testing

November 30, 2020

County Health officials in regions experiencing higher numbers of cases will be relying on schools to provide support for contact tracing.  Please advise your Covid Coordinators of this shift if your school is open for in-person education and in a region where numbers are increasing rapidly.  


October 1, 2020

If you become aware of a COVID-19 case in a child, staff member, or volunteer at your facility, please notify your county Public Health.

For King County School COVID-19 Coordinators:
The School COVID-19 Coordinator(s) should notify their District COVID-19 Coordinator of any reports of positive cases and share the completed / updated School Case & Close Contact List Template (B). The School Covid-19 Coordinator should update this list whenever the school has been notified of an additional student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
For Pierce County School Covid-19 Coordinators:


September 15, 2020  

COVID-19 testing unfortunately is something schools will also need to understand.  Here is a breakdown of the tests currently available to help clarify the differences with each.

GENETIC TESTS – Most tests look for bits of the virus’ genetic material, and require a nasal swab that is taken by a health professional and then sent to a lab. This is considered the most accurate way to diagnose an infection, but it’s not perfect: The swab has to get a good enough sample so any virus can be detected.  These tests usually take hours to process at the lab so you likely won’t get results back for at least a day, though a handful of rapid tests take about 15 minutes on site. Other genetic tests use saliva, instead of a swab.

ANTIGEN TESTS – A newer type of test looks for proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus, rather than the virus itself. These antigen tests are just hitting the market, and experts hope they’ll help expand testing and speed up results.  Antigen tests aren’t as accurate as genetic tests, but are cheaper, faster and require less specialized laboratory equipment. They still require a nasal swab by a health professional.  A recently approved test from Abbott Laboratories takes 15 minutes and can be performed at schools, offices and other locations.

ANTIBODY TESTS – Antibody tests look for proteins that the body makes to fight off infections in a patient’s blood sample. Antibodies are a sign that a person previously had COVID-19.  Scientists don’t yet know if antibodies protect people from another infection, or how long that protection might last. So antibody tests are mostly useful for researchers measuring what portion of the population was infected.

**this information was sourced from an Associated Press article in the Seattle Times.

Early Learning & Childcare
Working Connections Subsidy no longer covers days a program closes due to COVID
WFIS engaged the Department of Children Youth & Families to inquire about the agency’s decision to suspend payments to programs temporarily under quarantine. DCYF responded that the state was forced to resume paying based on child attendance “due to the need to pay for care provided and the lack of funds to support enrollment based pay.”  The state invested approximately $88 million dollars to pay providers caring for children receiving subsidy based on enrollment instead of attendance between March 16th and September 30th. The state would need additional direction and funding from the Legislature to resume payment based on enrollment.  
WFIS needs to hear from schools about how this affects your community, what modifications would be needed to not shut your doors, and what other support could benefit your ability to stay open under Covid.  
DCYFs Fall COVID-19 Child Care grants NOW LIVE.  The Department of Children Youth & Families opened up another round of grant opportunity to Childcare Centers that are currently open, with amounts based upon center capacity. Get the details HERE. The deadline to apply is midnight on November 25th.

DOH released a Return to School/Childcare/Work for Persons with Symptoms of COVID-19 flowchart on Oct. 13.

  • Highlights include:
    • COVID-19 symptoms are now separated into class A and class B.
    • When COVID-19 activity levels are moderate/high (>25 cases/100K/14 days) and you have only 1 class B symptom lasting less than 24 hours, then you can return without a test after 24 hours after symptoms have improved.
    • When COVID-19 activity levels are low (<25 cases/100K/14 days) and you have only 1 class B symptom lasting any duration, then you can return without a test after 24 hours after symptoms have improved.
Though there is a conflict within the King Co Health_Guidance for Child Care Administrators document about 10 days or 14 days for staying at home after detection of a symptom, the advisory is consistent in conveying that any single listed symptom not attributable to another condition will require a student or staff person to stay home.  Additionally, any staff and children who had close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 person are asked to stay home and watch for symptoms for 14 days from their last contact with that person.

Examples of COVID-19 symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever (100.4F or higher), chills, congestion or runny nose, headache, muscle or body aches, sore throat, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell, or other signs of new illness that are unrelated to a preexisting condition (such as seasonal allergies).

Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 during this 14-day “symptom-watch” period, should get tested for Covid-19.  A negative test still requires the person to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with the infected individual.  A negative test only means the person doesn’t have COVID- 19 at the time of testing, but they may test positive later within the 14-day window.

Child cares are allowed to continue serving families working in essential services (e.g. healthcare, janitorial, or grocery workers) who do not have the option of keeping a child home for a period of “symptom-watch”, as long as the child remains well and symptom free. The decision to stay open will be up to each child care facility.

WA Department Of Health updated their Fall Guidance with changes that presents major challenges for early learning providers with assistant teachers.  WFIS has heard feedback that the new cohorting recommendation outlined below is problematic to programs with one lead teacher and one assistant, because dividing the group of 20 into two groups leaves one group of students with an assistant teacher.  Review the updated DOH recommendations below.
For Childcare, there is updated language about what groups and activities are covered by the guidance to include parent and for cohorting:
  • Group sizes should total no more than 20 children or the maximum group size allowed for a given age according to Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) licensing requirements, whichever is less. Child care providers, youth development, and day camps may choose to have smaller groups of children or youth or may need to have smaller group sizes because of their physical space (see distancing below). Groups must have stable staff assigned and the staff-to-child ratios must adhere to those specified in licensing rules by provider type. DOH recommends that all program types follow the group sizes and ratios listed below regardless of whether the program is licensed or not.
  • For preschools and school age programs with groups of more than 15 children, two stable subgroups should be formed within their shared space. The adult from one subgroup may briefly supervise the other subgroup to facilitate breaks.
Changed information on when students and staff can return after experiencing symptoms of COVID:
  • If PCR testing for COVID-19 is not performed, stay home for at least 10 days after symptom onset, and at least 24 hours after fever has resolved and symptoms have improved. People with severe disease or who are immunocompromised may need to isolate at home for longer.
  • If PCR testing for COVID-19 is negative, stay home until 24 hours after the fever resolves and symptoms improve.
Changed “cases” or “confirmed cases” to be a positive (PCR or antigen) COVID-19 cases (example below):
  • Quarantine close contacts and notify families if two or more laboratory positive (PCR or antigen) COVID-19 cases are reported in a 14 day period.  
Added guidance about Physical Education and Locker Room Use:
  • If PE takes place indoors, maintain 6 feet of distance between students. Avoid strenuous activity so students can wear their face coverings.
  • Limit the use of locker rooms to handwashing and restroom use only. Showers should not be used due to potential spread of aerosolized droplets. Consider eliminating requirements to change clothes for PE. If use of locker rooms for changing is necessary, maximize ventilation and use tape, spots, or cones to signal 6 feet of distance for students who need to change. Stagger entry to the changing area and use these facilities as appropriate with members of the same group/cohort. Make sure to limit occupancy of the locker rooms to avoid crowding.
Language updated to align with the K-12 guidance in the following section of Symptom screening—one new question added:
  • Within the past 14 days, has a public health or medical professional told your child to self-monitor, self-isolate, or self-quarantine because of concerns about COVID-19 infection?
*you may need to refresh your browser, if you have opened this document in the past.
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.


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

In School
The WA State DOH Updated Guidance for K-12 Schools 10-28-20 conveys the following details about Covid-19 outbreaks in schools on page 15:
A COVID-19 outbreak is considered when the following have been met:
  • There are two or more laboratory-positive (PCR or antigen) COVID-19 cases among students or staff.
  • The cases have a symptom onset within a 14-day period of each other.
  • The cases are epidemiologically linked.
  • The cases do not share a household.
  • The cases are not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during the investigation.

The guidance outlines steps to be taken depending on whether the school is cohorting students or not.  


As Covid cases increase throughout counties in WA, regional health departments are being asked by OSPI to allow schools to progress or maintain in-person learning if they are able to follow DOH & L&I safety guidance.   The Governor’s Safe Start plan restrictions apply countywide based on countywide disease activity level.  For this reason, county health officials are reluctant to provide local, district-specific measures within their guidance.

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department held discussions with heads of private schools to decide unclear areas in the DOH Decision Tree, such as:

  • Do pre-school and pre-K follow guidance for childcares or schools?     Decision: childcare.
  • What constitutes “younger learners” within “the highest need students” permitted to have in-person learning in small groups?    Decision: K to Grade 5.

Private school leaders and the community of families they serve have implemented social distancing, wearing masks, and in some settings additional approaches to safety such as 3-sided personal plexi-glass shields and outdoor tent classrooms.   The overwhelming desire is for county health departments to maintain their current position of allowing schools to make their own decisions, while operating within the safety protocols.

The Employer Health & Safety Requirements for School Scenarios outlines Band and Choir protocols in language that complicates knowing what you can do. Here is what is clear:
  • Choir, which is singing of 2 or more students not in the same household, is only allowed remotely. No in person singing is allowed at this time.
  • Band or non-wind instruments can occur indoors, with masks and social distancing.
  • School music programming outdoors, or under a structure with two walls completely removed, with students using additional protections and practicing social distancing fits the description cited on page 7: “Where additional barriers, ventilation, distance or other controls are provided, minimum requirements may be reduced further.
Each school’s situation is unique – in county, community served, facilities, etc. and therefore school leadership will need to determine what programming is feasible for their students.  If you have questions, contact WFIS .
The DOH released more nuanced guidance for interpreting symptoms in the Return to School/Childcare/Work for Persons with Symptoms of COVID-19 flowchart.

Highlights include:

    • COVID-19 symptoms are now separated into class A and class B.
    • When COVID-19 activity levels are moderate/high and a person has only 1 class B symptom lasting less than 24 hours, they can return without a test after 24 hours after the symptom has improved.
    • When COVID-19 activity levels are low and a person has only 1 class B symptom lasting any duration, they can return without a test after 24 hours after symptoms have improved.
    • Class A symptoms, which hold a higher correlation to Covid-19, are:
      • Fever (defined as subjective or 100.4 ̊F or higher)
      • Cough
      • Loss of sense of taste and/or smell
      • Shortness of breath
    • Class B symptoms are:
      • Fatigue
      • Headache
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea (defined as 2 or  more loose stool in 24 hours)
OSPI just released additional guidance outlining school employee safety and PPE:
OSPI has prepared a document to address questions and concerns about school immunization requirements during this time of Covid-19 to clarify state law and recommendations about immunization requirements and exclusion of students.  Read the document in full, and see with points below:

For the 2020–21 School Year and K–12 Programs Only

  • In light of the pandemic, if a student cannot meet the immunization requirements by the first day of school and a student is fully participating in remote learning, we are not recommending that the school exclude that student from school. The student should be immediately enrolled and served remotely.
  • Students should be in compliance when they are back on campus for any reason, including small group learning or extracurricular activities.
  • If the student’s learning program is at school or only partially remote and the student is not in compliance with immunization requirements, they should be enrolled but excluded from physically attending school.
  • As required by current state and federal law, any student experiencing homelessness or living in foster care must immediately be enrolled and served, regardless of their immunization status or educational setting.
  • Schools should continue to work with the families to bring students into compliance as soon as possible.
County Departments of Health are sharing Toolkits to clarify school responsibilities and communication with families and staff, as well as protocol for handling suspected and actual Covid-19 incidents.
King County Schools COVID-19 Response Toolkit and their Frequently Asked Questions website for schools and child care. Both of these resources are living documents and will be regularly reviewed and updated.
Governor Inslee and the WA State DOH have outlined the WA Decision Tree Re-Opening intended to advise School Administrators, Local Health Officers, and Community Stakeholders.  Additionally, the WA State Risk Assessment Dashboard conveys data on key metrics and phases by county.   The WA State Department of Health’s K-12 School’s Fall 2020-2021 Guidance updated August 4, conveys what is required by public or private schools “is specific to K-12 public or private schools regardless of what phase or county they are in” and intended to be used with the above Decision Tree.
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.
State Superintendent Chris Reykdal is sharing the Washington Schools 2020 Reopening Plan Template with private schools which may be interested.  Private school are NOT REQUIRED to submit their reopening plans to OSPI but every school does need to have a plan outlined for staff, families and students.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.



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…



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



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?
Bulk PPE Ordering – Round 2
Communication about orders will be sent to all private & independent schools along with public schools through each regional ESD by Friday Nov 6th.
If your school purchased in Round 1, then you already have an interlocal agreement established. Schools that did not purchase in the first round, need to set one up by contacting the coordinator Tyler Wright at (360) 952-3477 or
Please download this DRAFT PPE order template (an excel file) to see what the ESDs are hoping to secure bids on. Because your school must submit it’s order through your regional ESD, make sure you have either heard from them already or contacted them to introduce yourself!
The due date for public and private school Round 2 orders will be Nov 10 for PS ESD and Nov. 13 for most other ESDs, with deliveries to tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 11.
PPE Bulk Purchasing – Round 2
In the coming week ESD112 is gathering bids so that final pricing will be presented to interested public and private schools on Nov. 6th (next Friday).
Please download this DRAFT PPE order template (an excel file) so you can see which items the coordinator at ESD 112 has out to bid and can begin thinking about quantities you may wish to order.
The due date for public and private school Round 2 orders will be Nov. 13 and with the Veterans Day holiday the TIMING IS VERY TIGHT!  There will be no opportunity to participate if your school does not have an interlocal agreement and finalized order in place by November 13th.  If your private school did not purchase PPE through ESD 112 during the Round 1, you are still eligible to participate in this Round 2 opportunity.  In order to do so, your school must first enter into an interlocal agreement with ESD 112 to join their purchasing cooperative.
Contact Tyler Wright at ESD 112 to initiate that process:
(360) 952-3477
PPE Orders will be made through your regional ESD.  If you have not already been contacted by your ESD, reach out today to introduce yourself.  This PPE Order and other opportunities for support during the coming months will be funneled through regional ESDs.
Schools must provide (at no cost to employees) and require the wearing of PPE )such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks) as appropriate for the work activity being performed. Cloth face coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the job site, unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under L&I safety and health rules and guidance.
For all risk levels, different face covering and respirator options are included in L&I’s Which Mask for Which Task? document.
Reminder – the bulk PPE statewide deliveries to all participants are expected 8.20 – 9.4
Private schools can join the bid to secure large volume PPE for WA State Schools through a procured group contract with ESD 112.
  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.  *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 requesting to be included in this opportunity.
Youth & Team Sports


The WA State Department of Health Updated Guidance released on 10-28-2020 states:   “School-related sports should follow the Safe Start Sporting Activities Guidance and any additional recommendations or requirements of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA)”   WFIS has skimmed this latest 16page document from DOH to aggregate elements related to PE/Recess/Sports for schools below:

  • Think creatively about all opportunities to increase physical space between students during all scheduled activities and limit interactions in large group settings. 
  • Cancel activities where multiple classrooms interact.
  • Place tape, spots, cones, paint or other markers to signal six feet distance in areas where students may be waiting in line. 
  • Cancel or modify classes where students are likely to be in very close contact. Physical Education should be held outside whenever possible. Face coverings can be removed during strenuous activities, however, to reduce risk, consider structuring PE in a way that allows for use of face coverings, especially when PE is held indoors. This may require limiting or avoiding strenuous activity. PE activities that focus on individual skills or activities that can be done while maintaining 6 feet of distance and wearing a face covering are generally the lowest risk. Schools may also phase in PE activities as that are described in or similar to those described in the Sporting Activities guidance and in accordance with the level of COVID-19 in their community. Refer to Employer Health & Safety Requirements for School Scenarios for additional details on PPE use among PE staff.
  • Limit the use of locker rooms to hand-washing and restroom use only. Showers should not be used due to potential spread of aerosolized droplets. Consider eliminating requirements to change clothes for PE. If use of locker rooms for changing is necessary, maximize ventilation and use tape, spots, or cones to signal 6 feet of distance for students who need to change. Stagger entry to the changing area and use these facilities as appropriate with members of the same group/cohort. Make sure to limit occupancy of locker rooms to avoid crowding.
  • Cancel in person activities that are considered high risk. These activities include choir, playing of instruments involving breath, contact sports (other than as allowed under Sporting Activities Guidance , or other activities that require students to remove face coverings and/or be in close contact with one another. These activities may contribute to transmission of COVID-19. 
  • Cancel in person field trips, assemblies, and other large gatherings. Cancel in-person activities and events such as field trips, student assemblies, special performances, STEAM fairs, school-wide parent meetings, or spirit nights.
Please let WFIS know if your school has additional questions or concerns related to guidance BEFORE choosing to contact a state agency.  


WFIS is grateful to have Rick Skeen, Athletic Director at King’s Schools, attending bi-weekly WIAA meetings.  Here are some of Rick’s insights for WFIS schools:
  • The WIAA Board has extended the Open Coaching Window through Dec 19, extending the previous deadline of Nov 30, because of many schools being unable to practice due to county health restrictions. WIAA rules prohibit any competition between schools during the Open Coaching Window.
  • The WIAA’s goal is getting as many kids as possible safely participating in sports, activities and music once more. With COVID numbers on the rise, the timeline initially planned for is looking less realistic, but WIAA member sentiment is for the counties that can play, to safely do so.
  • WIAA is attempting to protect spring sports that were lost last year from being missed this academic year. Discussions continue on how to shift timelines for lower risk sports while considering a balance of sport involvement for all stakeholders.
  • WIAA has been giving lots of data to the Governor’s office garnered from the 38 states that are already playing sports and / or engaging in musical programming. Studies show that with masks and distancing students and staff can stay safe.
  • The relationship between public and private WIAA schools is as critical as ever to foster. With the assumption that private schools have advantages to offer in-person learning, it must be reemphasized that all student scholarships must be need-based. WIAA is adamant that no scholarships for talent or ability are permitted.
If your school has a newer Athletic Director or someone who would like to get greater insight into WIAA, please send WFIS their name & email address so that we can include them in direct communication and support from Rick in the weeks and months ahead.
Additional WIAA information below:



The Governor’s office released Sporting Activities Frequently Asked Questions on Oct. 13. These FAQs along with Sporting Activities guidance and WIAA guidance should be utilized to plan your students’ “return to safe play”.

Highlights include:

  • “Do coaches need to wear masks?” – YES.  Everyone involved with sporting activities need to where masks in accordance with the Secretary of the Department of Health’s Facial Coverings Order, with the exception of athletes currently actively participating in the field of play or competition course, and also an exception for referees that need to run in the field of play.
  • “Can you do 3 on 3 basketball game in a county with moderate or high county COVID activity?” – YES.  Brief close contact such as a modified 3 on 3 drill is permitted for training purposes and should be brief.  A standard basketball game, 3 on 3 or otherwise, is considered to have extended close contact, and is not allowed in counties with high COVID activity.



The conjointly presented Employer-Health-and-Safety-Requirements-for-School-Scenarios presents L&I requirements for employee safety in alignment with DOH guidelines and the expectations set forth by OSPI.  Lots of information to delve into for athletics, music, and other in-person school scenarios.


Governor Inslee released guidelines related to all matters of school and youth sports which should be reviewed and retained for future reference.  Governor’s Youth & Team Sports Guidelines

Schools and other organizations offering youth sports are obligated with responsibilities for Records and Contact Tracing which includes the following: 

“Keep a roster of every athlete, staff and volunteer present at each practice, training session, and contest to assist with contact tracing in the event of a possible exposure. Similarly keep a roster and seating chart for each travel group. Attendance rosters and seating charts must be kept on file for 28 days after the practice, contest, or trip.”





The Federal Office of Non-Public Education today alerted WFIS that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sent a letter to Chief State School Officers regarding CARES Act equitable services. In the letter Devos states that the Dept. of Education will not be appealing for further inclusion of private school students in ESSR Funding.
CARES Relief Funding, ESSR was not distributed in a way that benefited most children impacted by COVID 19. As a relief fund, private schools expected that all children would benefit.   In WA State, tight restrictions were created that kept funding from reaching most students currently attending private schools.  Only children using Title I funding in 2019-20 were eligible.
However, in two counties, Skagit and Pierce, the council members have included funding for more students. Pierce distributed funding to our schools and Skagit is working on a process to do so. WFIS is advocating for relief funding distributed by the Governor to counties and then to schools, to include children currently attending private schools.



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.



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.



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.



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

Title Funds Support


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.


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.

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:



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.
Summer Camps & Summer Learning
Today the DOH released updated guidance regarding child care, youth development, and summer day camps which you can access HERE
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
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.
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.
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.

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.

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