COVID UPDATE BACK TO SCHOOL 2021–2022
Lakewood School District is gearing up to welcome students back this fall for full-time, in-person learning. We are working hard to update our protocols in an effort to reflect the latest requirements. Any changes will be communicated with you. We are committed to maximizing positive experiences that define in-person learning, as well as the safety of students and staff.
On Wednesday, July 28th, the Governor and Department of Health announced the extension of mask requirements for all students and staff who are indoors in all public, private, charter and tribal compact schools in the state of Washington for the start of the 2021–2022 school year. These requirements are provided by the Department of Health in the K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021–2022 School Year.
While some members of our community have concerns about these requirements, they are in place as a protection because face-coverings mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially in school environments where individuals may be in close contact over extended periods of time. It is important to note that local school boards and superintendents do not have the authority to override or act in violation of these requirements by enacting less restrictive parameters. These regulations (put forth by the Governor, the Department of Health, and Labor & Industries) carry out the full force of the law. Failure to adhere to them will result in discontinuation of state and federal funding, as well as a loss of liability insurance coverage. Full-time, in-person schooling would not be possible under these circumstances.
Our district will continue to provide multi-layered protections, consistent with what we provided last year when we returned students to in-person learning five days per week. These measures include enhanced ventilation, social distancing of three-feet in classrooms and six-feet in other locations whenever possible, onsite diagnostic and rapid testing, daily cleaning and disinfecting, frequent handwashing and disinfecting, detailed protocols for the full range of student and staff interactions throughout the day—including transportation.
We learned so much last spring, as the only district in Snohomish County to return K–8 grades to full-time instruction. We are humbled that other districts have reached out to learn from our experience. We look forward to re-engaging with our students come September as we begin to turn the corner on this pandemic.
Thank you for your partnership and patience. If we place the health and well-being of our whole community and each of our neighbors at the center of this public health crisis, we will get through it stronger and together.