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Coronavirus - COVID - 19 - Information and Resources

 

 

 

**UPDATE - March 13, 2020

On March 12, 2020, Governor Inslee ordered the closure of all schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to begin Tuesday, March 17th.  However, following today’s new directive from Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Tukwila School District will close all schools beginning Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 24th. The first day of school would be Monday, April 27th.

The Governor’s Office states that a brief closure (two weeks or less) of schools is not enough to affect a change in the infection rate of the virus.  Guidance from the Governor’s Office, based on known data and epidemiological modeling, is to close schools for this extended period of time. 

Student Meal Support

Beginning Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 24th, the Tukwila School District will begin distributing free breakfast and lunch to all children aged 18 and under who live within our district boundaries.  Eligible children must be present to receive meals. 

Free breakfast and lunch will be distributed to all children aged 18 and under at any Tukwila School District bus stop at regularly scheduled morning pick up times, Monday through Friday.  If you miss the bus delivery, please go to a Tukwila School District school for distribution of free breakfast and lunch between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

Please click this link for bus stop locations and morning pick up times: Bus routes and schedules

Please click this link for the March 13th Memo to Families - Free Breakfast and Lunch Distribution

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Dear Tukwila School District Community and Families, 

Tukwila School District nurses and administrators will continue to diligently monitor the worldwide outbreak and spread of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) continue to remind us that the threat to the general public in Washington is considered low at this time. 

There have been no confirmed cases in Tukwila.  However, because the health and safety of students, staff, and the community is at the center of the District’s priorities, we want to share with you information, resources, and examples of proactive steps the District is taking to help safeguard our school community’s health.

Where can families find accurate information about  COVID-19?

 Our website, at www.tukwilaschools.org, is updated regularly with information regarding COVID-19; 

Washington State Health Department coronavirus page is informative and is updated daily; 

Public Health - Seattle and King County Coronavirus Information page.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to flu or colds and may include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
  • A general feeling of being unwell

How severe is COVID-19?

Most COVID-19 illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with novel coronavirus infection do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with respiratory problems like pneumonia. Elderly people and people with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses, including COVID-19, most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • Rarely, fecal contamination with coronavirus present

What can we do as a community to help prevent the spread of illnesses like flu and coronavirus?

  • The DOH identifies handwashing as the best defense to any virus or illness. It is especially important to wash your hands before eating. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • If your child is sick, please keep them at home. While global attention is focused on the coronavirus, we want to remind our community that many types of Influenza are a concern this year and it's important to protect yourself and others.  As a reminder, students should be kept home if they have the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea. Your student should be free of fever for 24 hours without fever lowering medication prior to returning to school.  Students should also have no episodes of vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours prior to returning to school. 
  • If you suspect you may have been exposed to the coronavirus and are not experiencing life-threatening conditions like shortness of breath, please call your doctor’s office.  Nurses and doctors will be able to advise whether you need to be seen. 

What is TSD doing to proactively keep our school community as healthy as possible?

  • School nurses and our maintenance and operations department are in daily communication with the DOH, Public Health - Seattle and King County, and other school personnel from surrounding districts.
  • Students will be reminded to wash their hands throughout the school day. 
  • In addition to their regular duties, our custodians have been directed to focus on cleaning and disinfecting common and high traffic / high touch areas which include: 
    • door handles / emergency bars on doors
    • sinks
    • light switches
    • dispensers
    • hand railings 
    • lunch room tables
    • countertops 
  • In the event of a school closure due to a confirmed case of COVID-19, the building(s) will be sanitized and disinfected.  This specialized cleaning process includes the use of an electrostatic sprayer, which sprays a disinfectant, and all surfaces are wiped down with a disinfectant.     

Is the District concerned about the potential stigma associated with COVID-19?

The District is aware that erroneous information is circulating about certain races and ethnicities being more susceptible to COVID-19 than others. We want to reiterate that while COVID-19 started in China, having Chinese ancestry – or any other ancestry – does not place a person at higher risk for this illness. You can help keep our schools safe for everyone by sharing accurate information with your children and fellow community members. If your child is being bullied, harassed or excluded, please report it immediately to a teacher, counselor, or your school principal. You can find additional resources for responding to stigma at: kingcounty.gov/ncov/anti-stigma

Other schools in the Puget Sound region have closed or may close. How will TSD make the determination to close a school or not?

The District works closely with Public Health - Seattle and King County and the State Department of Health. Schools that have closed have done so because it has been confirmed that a student, staff or community member who has been in the school has been exposed to or contracted COVID-19. To date, this has not occurred in our District. The decision to close one or more District schools will be made if a confirmed case of or exposure to COVID-19 is identified in our school community after discussions with and under the guidance of public health authorities.

If TSD closes a school or multiple schools, what is the plan for teaching and learning?

  • Our first priority will be the health and safety of our students, staff and community.
  • We are committed to an equitable educational opportunity for each student which means that online learning to keep school in session despite school closure is not, at this time, a viable way to address a short term school closure.
  • The District would likely close the school until the health risk can be appropriately addressed.

  • In the case of a school closure, the District may use weather make-up days, extend the school year, or apply for a waiver from the state to account for the loss of instructional time.

Online Learning 

In the event of a school or district closure, we will not be providing distance learning in alignment with recommendations from OSPI.  The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has released recommendations regarding learning in the event of a prolonged absence or school closure. OSPI does not recommend an online distance learning model unless a district can ensure that all students will have equal access to learning.  Tukwila School District does not currently have the supports in place to allow this to happen.  If OSPI has updated recommendations, we will re-evaluate options at that time.  

Where should questions be directed?  

The Washington State DOH has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #. 

What’s next?

The District will continue to update families about COVID-19 as more information becomes available. Any updates will be shared through the District’s usual communications channels, including on the web at www.tukwilaschools.org, social media and the School Messenger family notification system.

Sincerely,

Flip Herndon

Superintendent

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