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Safely Back to School

Student with mask cut outWelcome back to full time, in-person learning for WWPS students this year!

On July 28, 2021, Governor Inslee announced updated safety precautions all K-12 schools in the state of Washington must follow as they prepare for in-person instruction this fall (those are accessible here). He announced updated Washington State Department of Health (WaDOH) regulations that continue mask requirements for all staff, students and visitors while indoors at schools, regardless of vaccination status. Governor Inslee noted the masking and other safety provisions are legally required and apply to all public and private schools in Washington State. They cannot be changed, modified or relaxed by local school boards or district officials.

The updated requirements relax many of the quarantining and isolation requirements for vaccinated students and staff in order to minimize time missed from class. 

Walla Walla Public Schools has carefully reviewed and incorporated the new updates into its Safely Back to School Plans. Please feel free to review this website and resources for information on how WWPS plans to keep students, staff and visitors safe, while ensuring all students have access to a comprehensive, full-day school experience. 

Summary of Safely Back to School Protocols

The following summary provides a brief review of the Washington State Department of Health (WaDOH) required safety protocols Walla Walla Public Schools will be implementing this fall to keep students and staff safe. For more information on our safety and health measures, please visit our Safety Protocols Page Here.

Face Coverings

State officials are requiring all staff, students and guests (regardless of vaccination status) to wear face coverings inside school buildings and on school buses this fall. Face coverings are optional when outdoors and can be removed when actively eating/drinking or under rare medical or disability exceptions as approved by the school nurse. Please remember to send your student to school with a face covering. If they do not have one, please contact your school and one will be provided.

Physical Distancing

Classrooms have been arranged to maximize physical distancing between students, while still ensuring all children have access to a comprehensive, full-day experience. Students should attempt to maintain distancing to the greatest degree possible during passing, while on the bus, while eating, and in common areas. Larger gatherings of students in one location (e.g. assemblies) will be moved outside or reduced in size to ensure a safe, socially distanced setting can be maintained. 

Eating and Drinking

To ensure a safe eating experience, outdoor eating, CDC-recommended physical barriers, rotating schedules and modified feeding locations have been incorporated. Traditional meal services (no longer grab and go) will be available to all students, free of cost, regardless of economic status. Students may also bring their own lunch if they desire. Drinking fountains and water filling stations are accessible throughout the day.

Classroom Close Contact Exposure 

WaDOH identifies close contact as being less than 3ft from an individual with COVID-19 for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24 hr. period. Vaccinated students are no longer required to quarantine in most circumstances.  Families will be notified personally if their student is considered a close contact.   

Hygiene

Hand washing or hand sanitizing is required after going to the bathroom, playing outside, or before eating food. Sanitization access will be available throughout campuses and classrooms.

Health Screening

Students and staff must stay home when sick. Students/families are expected to check for symptoms daily at home before coming to campus. 

Cleaning, Disinfecting and Enhanced Ventilation

As recommended by WaDOH, cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces will be performed once a day, each night, after students leave, by custodial staff. Additionally, in consultation with HVAC experts, maximum MERV filter efficiency, optimized outside air flow and enhanced system run times have been programmed into our heating/cooling systems.

Vaccinations 

Schools have been asked by state officials to promote vaccinations for eligible students, teachers, staff and families. While not required at this time, staff and students who are fully vaccinated will avoid most quarantine requirements and may be subject to relaxed masking requirements announced by WaDOH in the future. 

COVID Testing

With parental consent, WWPS provides COVID testing for students as part of their layered prevention and response strategy. Per WaDOH, in some instances, screening testing is required for non-vaccinated student athletes, coaches and trainers, such as those involved in high-contact indoor sports, like wrestling.

 

WALLA WALLA PUBLIC SCHOOLS • 364 South Park St. • Walla Walla, WA 99362 • Phone: 509-527-3000 • Fax: 509.529.7713

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