Coronavirus Information Update, March 5, 1:52 p.m.
Hello FWPS Staff, Parents and Guardians,
I know that with the significant amount of information circulating about coronavirus (COVID-19), it can be overwhelming and in some instances, scary. I want to emphasize the importance of staying calm and informed in situations like these.
As you may know, there have been school closures and a district closure in the Seattle region in recent days. I recognize this can intensify worry and generate concern within our community.
There is no confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Federal Way Public Schools at this time. We take our guidance from the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) who is NOT recommending closing schools, and we are staying vigilant while not panicking as we support our students and staff.
In the worst case, if we were to have a confirmed case and the situation dictates closure, it is essential for us to provide ALL students equitable access to learning. For FWPS, we would not be able to provide online services to all students because many families do not have wi-fi access or access to computers. Additionally, some families work multiple jobs and would not be able to support home instruction with their children. Therefore, we would not exercise online learning as the only option.
It is important to know that the COVID-19 mortality rate is relatively low at this time. Recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that it does not seem to impact children in the same way that it has impacted older people and people with other underlying health conditions. It’s also essential that we recognize that the virus is not going anywhere any time soon—meaning it could be around for weeks and months to come. So, we must have an approach that is reasonable and sustainable.
We take the health and safety of our staff and scholars very seriously. We’ve communicated with all staff and families multiple times about coronavirus beginning February 3, 2020. You can count on us to continue to communicate proactively, act on preventative methods, and monitor and address this situation.
Since our last communication, we’ve added another preventative measure by offering lesson plans for schools to teach students how to prevent communicable diseases. This was provided to principals today and all students will receive this lesson by end of day Monday. These lessons are available here.
As a reminder, here are some of the preventative methods we’re taking:
• Participating in meetings and weekly briefings with the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) and Public Health–Seattle & King County and following guidance from these agencies and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
• Informing school nurses and school leadership staff of the specific action steps to take if there is a student, staff member, or volunteer suspected to be at risk for COVID-19.
• Encouraging our staff, students and parents to follow general prevention methods such as handwashing, covering cough and staying home if ill.
• Using a specific cleaning agent for high touch point surfaces (i.e. countertops, doorknobs, light switches, etc.) known to kill human coronavirus, and is recognized as an effective cleaning agent by WSDOH. This is in addition to routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
• In addition to the disinfectant cleaner already available at our schools, we have purchased disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer for all schools.
• Keeping staff and families informed as new and relevant information is available.
You can count on FWPS leadership to be responsive and vigilant and we are committed to continually monitoring the situation. We ask for your partnership by staying informed through our updates, following preventative measures and encouraging a rational and calm environment.
Dr. Tammy Campbell, Superintendent
Click here to view previous coronavirus communications and available resources.