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In accordance with the Governor’s Proclamation 20-25, “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” and to protect the health and safety of Washingtonians and our employees, at this time, there is restricted public access to the OSPI building. OSPI will continue serving the public via phone, email, and the website.

See OSPI’s COVID-19 guidance and resources for educators, students, and families.

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Home » About OSPI » News Releases and Statements » Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance & Resources

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance & Resources

OSPI is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources for school districts, as well as resources for students and families as appropriate, as we navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our students, school employees, families, and communities. The most current guidance and resources are provided below.

FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for School Employees (Updated 9/3/21) *See revision log added to last page

For School Districts

OSPI, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Governor's Office expect all K–12 students to have the opportunity to attend school in-person full-time in the 2021–22 school year.

As part of a safe and healthy reopening and our ability to provide continued in-person learning without major COVID-related disruptions, on August 18, Governor Inslee announced a new requirement for all K–12 school employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain a religious or medical exemption by October 18, 2021.

See more information about the requirement:

Schools are required, by order of the Governor, to follow the following health and safety guidance: 

If local education agencies willfully do not comply with health and safety requirements, OSPI will follow the process and timeline described in WAC 392-117-070 through WAC 392-117-085 to provide notice and time to come into compliance, and eventually withhold funds if noncompliance continues.

In addition to the required schools guidance, DOH has published a supplemental guidance document with considerations for schools in reducing virus transmission. Schools are not required to follow the strategies included in the guidance. 

On May 21, OSPI published a bulletin regarding instructional funding models: Options for Instructional Funding Models in 2021–22.

Sign up to receive ESSER updates via email!

Washington's Plan for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund

Learning Recovery Reserve: Stakeholder Survey

While the bulk of ESSER funds go directly to school districts and are earmarked for specific programs, about 6% percent of funds (equivalent to $200 million) are broadly focused on learning recovery and acceleration. Throughout summer 2021, OSPI sought stakeholder input on uses for this amount. Please review the one-pager explainer, available in English and Spanish, which provides an overview on how the Legislature allocated federal ESSER funds. 

State Plan

The ARP ESSER fund, authorized by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), provides funding to schools to support sustained safe building reopenings and operations while meeting the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. OSPI submitted Washington's plan for use of the ARP ESSER funds, required by the U.S. Department of Education, on June 7, 2021. 

Data collected in the Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plans, due to OSPI by June 1, 2021, is available on the LEA Academic and Student Well-being Plan Data webpage.

The State Legislature and Congress required each public school district, tribal compact school, and charter school in Washington state to create and submit an Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan by June 1, 2021. The goal of the plan was to identify which students and student groups needed additional academic and well-being supports, define how those supports will be provided, and plan for recovery and acceleration of student learning and well-being over the summer, into the fall, and beyond.Each district was required to post their plan to their public-facing website and receive approval of their plan by their governing body prior to submitting their plan to OSPI.

To support completion of the plan, OSPI produced an Academic & Student Well-being Recovery Planning Guide as well as a Condensed Planning Tool in partnership with education leaders from districts, schools, and classrooms, as well as from education partner organizations. OSPI also published a Frequently Asked Questions document providing answers to some commonly asked questions.

Fillable Word Template of the Plan:
Arabic | Chinese | English | Marshallese | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Ukrainian | Vietnamese

Federal Funding

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has provided schools with three rounds of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds.  In total, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in Washington will receive over $2.5 billion for expenditures related to COVID-19 response.  While many of the rules provided by the federal government and the state have remained consistent between all three rounds of funding, there are some slight differences including but not limited to a period of allowable use and the basis for making claims against ESSER funds.  Feel free to reach out to our Chief Financial Officer, T.J. Kelly with questions at  thomas.kelly@k12.wa.us.

Posted August 4, 2021: District by District Award Amounts for ESSER I, II, and III

This document contains the amounts of ESSER I, II, and III by district, including non-Title I recipient districts and emerging charter schools.

Posted June 9, 2021: Maintenance of Equity (MOEquity) Requirements for ARP ESSER (ESSER III) Funds

This document represents the latest guidance from the federal government regarding the maintenance of equity (MOEquity) requirements of ARP ESSER (ESSER III) Funds. MOEquity is a set of new fiscal equity requirements in ARP ESSER.  Specifically, MOEquity ensures the following:

  • An SEA does not disproportionately reduce per-pupil State funding to high-need LEAs.
  • An SEA does not reduced per-pupil State funding to the highest-poverty LEAs below their FY 2019 level.
  • An LEA does not disproportionately reduce State and local per-pupil funding in high-poverty schools.
  • An LEA does not disproportionately reduce the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff per pupil in high-poverty schools.

If you have questions after reading through the document, please reach out to Amy Harris at Amy.Harris@k12.wa.us or T.J. Kelly at thomas.kelly@k12.wa.us

Posted June 1, 2021: Federal ESSER Use of Funds Questions and Answers Document (May 2021)

This document represents the latest guidance from the federal government regarding the use of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds. Please review the entire document if looking to answer a specific question. The document does state, in general, when asking whether an activity is an allowable use of funds, a State or LEA must determine:

  • Is the use of funds intended to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students?
  • Does the use of funds fall under one of the authorized uses of ESSER or GEER funds?
  • Is the use of funds permissible under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Grant Guidance, 2 CFR Part 200)? In particular, is it necessary and reasonable for the performance of the ESSER or GEER award?

Also, the document clearly states that lost revenue is not an allowable claim. All claims on ESSER II and III funds must be supported by allowable expenditures which have already been incurred.

Posted April 20, 2021: Comparison of the Maintenance of Effort Requirements in the CARES Act, the CRRSA Act, and the ARP Act. This document walks through the various MOE requirements of the different rounds of federal COVID relief funding for schools.  This is an excerpt of a more comprehensive document that can be found at Guidance on Maintenance of Effort Requirements and Waiver Requests under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.  As stated in the more comprehensive document, the Department of Education will be releasing separate guidance on the new State and local educational agency (LEA) maintenance of equity requirements in section 2004(b) and (c) of the ARP Act in the near future. When this guidance is released, we will make it available on this webpage.

Posted March 23, 2021: Comparison of Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding Sources and State Funding. This document details some of the key similarities and differences of the federal COVID-19 relief funding streams including statewide total amounts, period of availability, allocation methodology, accounting revenue codes, and required uses of funding.  As a reminder, each of these federal funding streams needs specific authorization from the legislature via law or unanticipated receipts process before OSPI can make funds available to districts.

Posted June 25, 2020: A detailed questions and answers (Q&A) document for school districts about the distribution of ESSER funds, allowable uses, requirements, and more. As districts receive their portion of ESSER funds, OSPI has four priorities that we expect districts will make priorities in their work, as well.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Pub. L. No. 116-136 was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act provides substantial relief to students and educators who have been profoundly affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). CARES Act funding for nationwide distribution to school districts was set at $13.5 billion. 

In addition to providing funding, the CARES Act authorized the U.S. Department of Education to provide flexibility through waivers of specific requirements in K–12 education funding and programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. More information about these waivers is available in OSPI Bulletin 032-20, published April 15, 2020.

Accounting for COVID-Related Expenditures

Posted July 1, 2020: The COVID-related expenditure tool is now available for ESSER I and ESSER II claims. In preparation for submitting claims for CARES Act funding disbursement, districts should follow the directions in the tool and submit their COVID-related expenditures since March 2020 using the applicable link: 

The COVID-19 situation is considered a subsequent event for accounting purposes, which needs to be disclosed in the notes to the 2018–19 financial statements for school district audit reports that are being issued now. A subsequent event is a significant event that occurs after fiscal year-end, but before the financial statements have been issued. The financial impacts may not be known at this time, but there are significant operational impacts and schools are operating in an environment that is vastly different than just a few months ago. OSPI has created a template for the note required to be added to the financial statement.

In addition, OSPI has prepared accounting guidelines to provide a framework through which districts can identify COVID-related expenditures. The guidelines also include a preview of the data reporting template for those expenditures. These expenditures will be reported through a supplemental reporting tool and will not be separately identified in each school district’s financial statement (F-196) this fall.

Emergency Relief for Non-Public Schools (EANS) Resources

ESSER EANS Expenditure Claims 
As a condition of payment of funds, non-public schools must also report expenditures in the OSPI EANS Expenditure Smartsheet tool, see link above. Please fill out the Smartsheet tool each time you submit a monthly claim for reimbursement. It will be used to report data for the EANS program to the US Department of Education.

Instructions for Completing Phase II Application (FP – 121) 
This document will walk you through the different pages and steps within the application in the iGrants system including getting access to the iGrants system and the following pages:  EANS Assurances and Determination of Eligibility, Non-Public School Data, Non-Public School Services and Assistance, and the Budget Matrix.  In addition, this document provides an overview of the steps needed to submit a claim for your EANS allocation.

EANS Allowable Activities and Budget Matrix Codes
This document provides a high-level overview of allowable EANS activities, the budget coding for such activities, and examples of such expenditures.

Form 1000E
Schools should use this form to request reimbursement from EANS funds.  Schools can do that once per month, or less frequently if desired.

Instructions for Filling Out the 1000E for Claims Purpose

Process to Access Services for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools

OSPI Contractors for EANS Direct Services

We have completed the contracts with the vendors below to provide direct services for the EANS program. These vendors may provide the following direct services:

  • Training and professional development on sanitization, use of PPE, and minimizing the spread of disease.
  • Redeveloping instructional plans, including curriculum development, for remote or hybrid learning, or to address learning loss. 
  • Initiating and maintaining education and support services or assistance for remote learning, hybrid learning, or to address learning loss.

If you are interested in utilizing these services, you will need to ensure your EANS application and budget reflect this. After you have made a decision regarding which vendor you wish to work with, you will need to contact the vendor directly. This vendor will work with you to develop a plan that best fits your needs. The vendor will send OSPI an invoice monthly for the services performed at each school and the costs associated with those services. OSPI will reduce the school’s allocation for the costs of those services. Any costs above the amount the school budgeted for these services in the EANS application will be the responsibility of the school.

Please contact EANS@k12.wa.us for any questions regarding the EANS program.

The most current guidance and resources related to supporting students receiving special education services during the pandemic are available on OSPI’s COVID-19 Special Education Guidance webpage

As schools bring students back this fall, child care and youth development programs, like before and after school care, tutoring/mentoring, and wrap-around services, will be an important part of the support system families rely on. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these programs have offered academic and social-emotional support; access to computers and Wi-Fi; provided meals and snacks; connected students and families to financial, health, and other resources for families.

Increased collaboration and communication between schools and child/youth-serving community-based providers will be important for maintaining safety and continuity for children between school and programs, especially if there are instances of COVID-19 exposure. Working together in the months and years ahead, will also help ensure that the child/youth-serving sector can continue to thrive so that families have access to the programs they need. As the pandemic continues, many programs are facing staffing and funding challenges due to fluctuating enrollment.

Schools can take steps to support students and families by engaging with local child care and youth development programs to ensure good communication channels are in place; especially around children who are served in common. Below are some easy ways to help families and communities manage back to school as successfully as possible:

  • Identify someone in the district as a point person between child care and youth development programs and share the contact information with those programs.
  • Prioritize referrals to existing programs before standing up additional child care options.
  • Plan for sharing information about known exposures between school and child care settings serving the same children, when possible, especially if the child care program regularly transports the child to school, or the school transports the child between care and school. Check with appropriate legal counsel when establishing information sharing agreements.
  • Communicate changes in the school’s schedule/practices directly to child care and youth development programs to allow time to make adjustments to support families as needed.
  • Connect with licensed child care providers in your area by contacting Child Care Aware.
  • Visit School’s Out Washington’s Open Programs & School Age Childcare Map.
  • Include child care and youth development programs in family-facing communications where appropriate. For instance, if the district sends regular updates to families via email, send to providers as well. If you need a list of child care providers. please send a request to kathryn@childcareawarewa.org.
  • Encourage staff and families to sign up for WA Notify (also known as Washington Exposure Notifications), a free tool that works on smartphones to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without sharing any personal information.
  • Direct families needing child care to the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center website or to call 1-800-446-1114.
  • Direct families needing assistance with paying for child care to Working Connections Child Care.
  • Be open to creative ways to continue or begin sharing dedicated space with child care and youth development programs, including the use of classrooms, the gym, multipurpose room, cafeteria/kitchen, outdoor/grounds, and entry ways.

The publications on Supporting Multilingual/English Learners and Supporting Migrant Students Under Title I, Part C are intended to provide school districts with guidance and strategies for supporting these students during school reopening. The publications were published on August 20, 2020.

 Other Resources

COVID-19 is not at all connected to race, ethnicity, or nationality. School staff should be mindful that bullying, intimidation, or harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, or disability (including the actual disability of being infected with COVID-19 or perception of being infected) may result in a violation of state and federal civil rights laws. School districts must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate what occurred when responding to reports of bullying or harassment. If parents and families believe their child has experienced bullying, harassment, or intimidation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, they should contact their school district’s designated civil rights compliance coordinator.

The U.S. Department of Education has also released guidance on addressing the risk of COVID-19 in schools while protecting the civil rights of students.

For Students & Families

In the 2020–21 school year, OSPI, through the K–12 Internet Access Program (IAP), supported more than 34,000 low-income K–12 students and their families connect to the internet from home at no cost to the family. In late spring 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. To continue their home internet service at no cost, families must transition from the IAP to the EBB. 

For more information, please see the K–12 Internet Access Program webpage.

Support for Multilingual Families

Learn more about parents' rights to translation and interpretation services, and family access to remote or distance learning activities. In addition to technology access, multilingual families may also need navigation support with accessing child care, early learning programs, nutrition, and financial assistance, and mental health and other health services.

Resources to Support Multilingual Families—English
Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese

Step-by-Step Access

Get step-by-step instructions on how to use 5 different teaching platforms.

Resources to Support Student Well-Being & School Safety

Many students, educators, and their families may need additional support because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources on this page are intended to support school districts, schools, students, parents, and families in recognizing and responding to signs of emotional and behavioral distress.

Resources for Continuous Learning

In response to school closures in spring 2020 due to COVID-19, OSPI content experts curated a selection of links to external organizations providing high-quality online educational materials – courses, lessons, videos, physical and outdoor activity suggestions, etc. Please note that in many cases, these resources are free to use online but are not openly licensed for wide-scale reuse and adaptation. These resources were carefully chosen for their alignment to Washington State K–12 Learning Standards (or a recognized equivalent) and/or direct experience with effective implementation with students. 

Family Engagement

This publication is a companion resource to the OSPI’s prior Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide, issued June 2020. The Family Engagement document provides guidance and strategies for building strong family, school, district, and community partnerships, and identifies resources to build and strengthen connections across these groups. You will find key questions, suggested actions, and resources for five categories of building successful Family engagement.

Videos of Superintendent Reykdal - COVID-19 Updates

Previous Guidance