- Federal Way Public Schools
- Health and Safety Guidelines for 2021-22 School Year
Reopening Plans and Learning Resources
- Back to School 2021-22
- Back-to-School Recorded Presentation
- Family Guide 2021-22 School Year
- Health and Safety Guidelines for 2021-22 School Year
- Bell Times
- Community Resources
- COVID-19 Dashboard
- Recovery Plan
- 2021-22 A Day in the Life of a FWPS Scholar Videos
Health and Safety Guidelines for the 2021-22 School Year
Safely returning our staff and scholars to in-person instruction on September 1, 2021 is our top priority. FWPS is implementing a comprehensive and layered prevention strategy to keep everyone safe and healthy as we return to our school buildings. Our layered mitigation and prevention measures align to Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s recent directives. https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/820-105-K12Schools2021-2022.pdf)
Federal and state health officials remind us that getting the COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick and helps prevent severe COVID-related illness, hospitalizations, and death.
School preventative measures for the coming school year include:
- Face Coverings/Masks (in school and on school buses)
- Physical Distancing
- Improved ventilation
- Cleaning & Disinfecting
- Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
- Staying home when sick
- Responding to COVID-19 Cases
On Aug. 18, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all PK–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination and be fully vaccinated or submit a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021. We are working with our staff to comply with the new requirement. This does not impact the start of school on September 1, 2021
Per Department of Health guidelines, all scholars, staff, and visitors must wear a face mask when indoors at school sites, regardless of vaccination status. If your child(ren) refuses to wear a face mask indoors, the principal will contact the parent or guardian.
When outside, face masks are not required. Face masks outside are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded areas.
Federal Way Public Schools will support those who choose to wear a face mask outside.
FWPS will provide masks for those that need one.
Where will masks be required?
Masks are required at all times when indoors at school and on the bus, regardless of vaccination status. This will also include passing periods, when scholars travel from one location to another, at our outdoor campuses.
Masks are not required when scholars are outside for PE class or recess. If a scholar is unvaccinated, it is recommended they wear masks outdoors in crowded areas.
Who is required to wear masks?
Everyone who enters our school buildings are required to wear masks while inside. This includes staff, scholars, parents/guardians, and other visitors – regardless of vaccination status.
I understand masks are to be worn. My student is not able/independent in mask wearing. Can they still come to school?
While we will continue to encourage and teach mask wearing and hand hygiene, if a student with a disability is unable to successfully wear a mask, they are still welcome at school. The school will reach out to you to discuss your child’s individual needs or ask for a note from your doctor. The special education teacher/case manager will also document in a Prior Written Notice the agreed upon plan to support your student.
What about special classes?
Scholars will wear masks in PE class when the class is held indoors. If PE class moves outdoors, masks are not required. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated individuals in crowded areas.
Scholars who participate in band will have special personal protective equipment. They will wear masks with slits in them for the mouth piece of breath-based instruments. They will also use bell covers at the end of their instruments.
Scholars in choir or in elementary music when they are singing will wear 3-ply masks to provide extra protection due to increase breath exhalation.
DOH guidelines recommend physical distancing of 3 feet in classrooms to the extent possible. Scholar seats will be arranged 3 feet apart at either desks or tables as much as possible. When calling scholars to move to a carpet area or small group table, physical distancing will continue. When lining up to move from the classroom, scholars will stand 3 feet apart.
In congested or heavily trafficked areas, physical distancing of 6 feet will be followed as much as possible.
Schools will maximize the distance between students to the degree possible for the following circumstances in alignment with DOH Guidance:
- For all students when masks cannot be worn, such as when eating lunch
- In common areas outside of the classroom
- During high-risk activities when increased exhalation or aerosolization occurs, such as PE or exercise, singing or playing instruments, and cheering or shouting. These activities may be moved outdoors or to large, well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
How will you monitor and support physical distancing?
Scholar seats will be placed within physical distancing guidelines. Xs painted outside and sticker dots on the carpets will provide visual cues to support scholars in physical distancing.
Health Screening and Attestation
Daily health screening and attestation is no longer a requirement from DOH. We will not require health screening this year.
We will expect parents/guardians to monitor their child(ren) for symptoms of COVID. If your child(ren) show any symptoms, they must stay home from school. COVID testing is recommended.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
FWPS has a thorough cleaning and disinfecting plan aligned to Department of Health and CDC guidelines. High touch point areas like door handles, bathrooms, water fountains will be disinfected throughout the day, and all locations will be cleaned with soap and water every night. Outdoor areas do not require disinfection; recess equipment will be cleaned and disinfected if contaminated with blood, feces, or vomit.
Classrooms will be provided with soap and water mixtures to clean desk tops during the day as needed as well as between periods in middle school and high school.
How will classrooms be cleaned between periods at middle schools and high schools?
Between class periods, teachers will spray desk tops with soap and water. As scholars enter the classroom they will take a paper towel and wipe down the surface.
How will the lunch room be cleaned?
Lunch room tables and tv tray tables will be cleaned with soap and water in between lunch periods.
Will electronic devices be cleaned?
As scholars receive their laptop the keyboard will be cleaned with a sanitizing wipe before they use it.
What will be used for cleaning?
Only approved cleaning products and disinfectants will be used; parents, teachers, and staff should not supply disinfectant and sanitizers.
The district will continue to use the same guidelines, standards and practices for ventilation that were established for hybrid learning. These measures support the reduction of spread from one area to another and are aligned to DOH guidelines:
- Use of high-quality, tight-fitting, progressive air filters that work better than standard filters.
- Filters changed following manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Air filters have the highest Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) that the HVAC system can handle without restricting airflow.
- Air purifiers with HEPA filters in classrooms and other school spaces.
- Air exchanged at a minimum of 5 times per hour.
- Increase the airflow of fresh air in all buildings.
If windows are operable, they can be opened to allow additional fresh air if weather conditions are permissible.
Will windows be open?
If windows are operable, they may be open, weather permitting, to increase fresh air. Your child should dress warmly and in layers. Windows will also be open on the bus, weather permitting.
School Day Overview
Following the Governor’s mandate all schools are required to provide full, in-person instruction to all who are interested. Schools will return to typical full schedules with all classes meeting in person. School will start on September 1st, 2021 for grades 1-12. Kindergarteners will start on September 7, 2021. Please check your school’s website for your specific school’s start and stop times.
Why is there not a fully remote or hybrid option for my specific school?
Following our governor’s mandate, we are required to offer full, in-person learning for all who are interested. With this mandate, we are not able to offer multiple models of instruction.
Those interested in a fully remote option may enroll their child in our long-established Internet Academy, similar to the years before the pandemic. If you choose to enroll your child in Internet Academy, you will be required to enroll for the entire 2021-2022 school year.
What is the remote option being offered in FWPS?
Families that would like their child to be fully remote this year must enroll their scholar in the Internet Academy—which is the only option available. We are not offering remote learning with your child’s home school—as the governor’s mandate requires full face to face learning for all scholars. If you choose to enroll your child(ren) in Internet Academy, it is required that they remain in Internet Academy for the 2021-2022 school year.
Will my child have music and PE classes? Is there special equipment?
Yes. Your child will have music and PE classes.
Scholars in choir and band will continue to use 3-ply masks (choir) and appropriate instrument PPE (band). Scholars will maintain 6 feet social distancing as much as possible. In elementary, scholars will use 3-ply masks when engaged in singing activities.
Scholars will continue to wear masks indoors and maintain 6 feet of social distancing as much as possible. PE classes may be moved outdoors, and PE teachers will reduce the use of shared equipment whenever possible to reduce the spread of the virus.
What will the first 3 days of school look like supporting scholars and staff in the transition back to face-to-face instruction?
Our first 3 days of school will be spent with scholars and staff engaging in activities designed to help scholars feel welcomed and connected to schools, staff, and other scholars after our period of remote learning. Scholars will engage in getting-to-know-you activities, Social-Emotional Learning activities, and will learn about the health and safety practices we have in place.
Will my child receive their services outlined on their IEP?
All students with IEPs will access all their specially designed instruction and general education classes as written in their IEP and their individualized schedule.
Elementary schools will offer recess to scholars during the 2021-2022 school year.
What protocols are in place to increase safety at recess?
Play areas will be divided into zones that groups are assigned to for the recess period. Scholars will be expected to stay in their zone during the recess period to minimize cross-exposure to other cohorts of children. Classes will rotate through the zones through the week to make sure that all have access to the play equipment and activities.
Will my child have to wear a mask at recess?
Scholars may remove their masks outside at recess; if recess is held indoors due to weather conditions, scholars will be required to wear their masks.
It is recommended that unvaccinated individuals wear masks in crowded areas. FWPS will support scholars who choose to wear their masks when outside at recess.
Breakfast and Lunch
All scholars will have access to free breakfast and lunch during the 2021-2022 school year. Breakfast and lunch will be free to everyone.
What safety protocols are in place for meal times?
Scholars will be masked throughout the entire meal line and immediately after eating; safety precautions are in place for the meal pick up, and scholars will be socially distanced at 3 feet to the extent possible.
At lunch time, elementary scholars will have assigned seats at 3 feet social distance as much as possible. Secondary scholars will sit 3 feet apart at individual tv tray tables.
What are the cleaning procedures for the cafeteria?
All tables and tray tables will be cleaned with soap and water between each meal period.
FWPS will provide transportation for all qualified scholars to and from school for the 2021-22 school year. As is FWPS policy, scholars attending their school on Choice will not be eligible for transportation. Buses will operate with masks required per DOH guidance.
Buses will operate at full capacity based upon OSPI guidance, with windows down 1/3 of the way and vents open to increase fresh air flow. All bus riders and driver will be required to wear face masks.
What cleaning protocols will be in place for the bus?
To increase safety, buses will be disinfected after each route. At the end of the day, the buses will be fully disinfected and cleaned.
Will there be physical distancing on the bus?
Buses will operate at full capacity with 2-3 per bench seat. Physical distancing should be practiced at the bus stop.
Extracurricular Activities: Athletics and Clubs
Scholars will have opportunities to participate in athletics (secondary) and some extracurricular activities this year. All athletics and activities will be operated following DOH guidance for face masks and physical distancing.
Sports and Athletics:
As we transition into full athletic activities for the 2021-22 school year, FWPS will follow the recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). We will continue to monitor the situation and make decisions based on guidance.
- Middle school athletics will begin on September 1. Daily Health Screening will not be required. Physical distancing will be required as much as is possible.
- High School athletics will start on August 18 (football) and August 23 (all other fall sports).
When scholars are engaged in any clubs on campus, they will be required to wear masks inside and maintain 3 feet of social distancing as much as possible.
Will athletes be required to wear face masks?
In alignment with the DOH, there are several mask mandates in place for athletes. Mask mandates vary depending upon whether the sport is indoors/outdoors, high-contact/low or moderate impact, and vaccination status. Please check our website here for more details: Scholar and Family Resources / Athletics (fwps.org)
If I’m a spectator at a sporting event, will I have to wear a mask or physically distance?
All spectators are required to wear masks in indoor K-12 sporting activities, regardless of vaccination status. They should be seated in family units and those units should be spaced at least 3 feet apart.
At outdoor sporting activities it is recommended that spectators wear a mask, as guidance recommends masks in crowded areas regardless of vaccination status. This is subject to change following new orders from the governor.
Will athletes have to do rapid testing for COVID again?
Some will. Scholar athletes who are unvaccinated and participating in indoor, high-contact sports will do rapid COVID testing. This includes basketball and wrestling.
Will there be whole or large scale assemblies at schools?
No assemblies at this time per the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). DOH guidelines dictate our schools will select strategies to increase physical distancing that will work for your school and the space available.
All FWPS schools will maximize opportunities to increase physical space between students during all scheduled activities and limit interactions in large group settings.
Visitors will be permitted to receive help from the school office. Visitors must sign-in/out when they enter and leave the school building. All visitors must wear a face mask at all times and observe social distancing.
Will I be able to volunteer in my child’s classroom?
No. At this time, FWPS will not allow volunteers in classrooms to limit the number of people in the space.
Will I be able to eat lunch with my child(ren)?
No. Visitors will not be allowed to eat lunch in the cafeteria or eating space.
COVID Response Protocols
Schools are required to have a detailed response and communication plan related to COVID cases at school. These protocols are aligned to DOH guidelines and reporting requirements. These response protocols are in place for:
- Exposure to COVID
- Positive Cases
- Contact Tracing
When a positive case is reported at the school, the principal communicates with the District COVID Lead Team. That team communicates with Public Health - Seattle and King County to determine the need for quarantine of scholars and staff.
Parents/guardians and staff members are asked to monitor for symptoms. Scholars and staff members will stay home when potential COVID-19 symptoms or any other illness is present.
How do you determine who is a close contact? Will close contacts need to stay home?
Scholars who are wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance of 3 feet to the extent possible are not considered close contacts. The definition of close contact for adults remains at 6 feet for 15 minutes total over a 24 hour period.
In the event of a positive case of COVID at school, close contacts will be identified and Public Health - Seattle and King County will be consulted to support the determination of a need to quarantine.
Scholars required to quarantine will transition to remote learning for a short period of time, following the instructional model found here: https://www.fwps.org/Page/8238
What happens if someone shows symptoms when they are at school?
If a staff member develops symptoms when they are at school, they will inform the building principal and leave the building immediately. They will be recommended to take a COVID test.
If a scholar develops symptoms at school, the principal will be notified immediately, and they will walk the scholar to the isolation room to be separated from others. Parents/guardians will be called to pick their child(ren) up immediately. Upon pick up, the principal or their designee will provide you with a flow-chart for determining next steps; they will talk this through with you. If your child(ren) have symptoms, we will recommend that you take them to get a free COVID test.
The area where the symptomatic staff member or scholar was located will be cleaned and disinfected.
What happens if someone has tested positive?
If a staff member or a scholar tests positive for COVID, the principal will be notified immediately. If your child(ren) tests positive, we ask that you call the principal immediately upon receiving the test result. This will allow us to begin the contact tracing procedures.
If your child has been identified as a close contact, you will be contacted by phone.
What happens if my child is exposed to COVID? Will they have to stay home?
Whether a scholar is required to quarantine will be based upon specific details of the situation. Your building principal will work with the District COVID Lead Team who will contact Public Health of Seattle and King County to determine if a scholar has to quarantine. This is the case whether your child was exposed at school or outside of the school environment.
If your child is required to quarantine, they will stay home for 14 days from the last contact with the positive individual. If a scholar needs to quarantine, they will be issued a laptop or device to continue their learning. More information about our instructional model for scholars on quarantine is available here: https://www.fwps.org/Page/8238
If your scholar is fully vaccinated, they do not have to quarantine if they have been exposed to COVID unless they develop symptoms. You should monitor for symptoms and test immediately if symptoms develop.
If my child is exposed to COVID, do they have to take a COVID test?
If your scholar is in quarantine due to COVID exposure, you will need to monitor for COVID symptoms. It is recommended that they test for COVID 3-5 days following the exposure.
Does my child need to stay home if they have symptoms but haven’t been identified as exposed to a positive COVID case?
As with any illness, if your child is showing symptoms of COVID, they need to stay home from school. If your child is showing symptoms, it is recommended that you take them to be tested for COVID-19.
What if my child is positive for COVID, what do I need to do? How long do they need to stay home?
If your scholar has tested positive for COVID you must inform your school as soon as you have the test result and your child must isolate and stay home from school regardless of vaccination status. Positive scholars will isolate for 10 days after symptoms have developed or from positive test if there are no symptoms present. They can return to school after those 10 days if they have been 24 hours without a fever AND symptoms have improved.
What is the threshold of cases for returning to hybrid or remote instruction?
Currently there is no threshold. If a return to hybrid or full remote instruction is necessary, guidance will be received from the Governor and the Washington State Department of Health
What about vaccinations?
On Aug. 18, 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee released new COVID immunization guidelines for K-12 staff statewide. Inslee announced all PK-12 staff, including substitutes, volunteers, visitors, and others are required to provide proof of receiving a COVID vaccination as a condition of employment. K-12 employees will have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated. The safety-requirement mandate does not include students.
While COVID vaccination is not a requirement for students, it is the strongest protective measure against COVID available to individuals 12 years of age and older. Wearing masks provides a proven layer of protection.
Federal Way Public schools is committed to continue partnerships with community health partners to hose vaccination events for staff, eligible students and families.