Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance & Resources
- Dept. of Health Decision Tree for Reopening (Published 8/5/20)
- Reopening Guidance for Special Education (Published 7/30/20)
- VIDEO: Supt. Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopenings Amid the COVID Landscape (Published 7/22/20)
- Washington Schools 2020 Reopening Plan Template (Published 7/16/20)
- Q&A for School Districts on Reopening Schools Guidance (Published 6/24/20)
- Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide (Published 6/11/20)
- Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Guidance & Resources for School Districts (Published 6/8/20)
- Reopening Washington Schools 2020–21 Workgroup
OSPI is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources as we experience this unprecedented situation together. The most current guidance and resources are provided below.
For School Districts
- NEW: On August 5, 2020, the Department of Health, in consultation with OSPI, published a decision tree to assist local health officers and school administrators in making decisions around resuming in-person instruction for public and private K–12 schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- NEW: On July 30, 2020, OSPI published Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Special Education Guidance.
- On July 16, 2020, OSPI posted the Washington Schools 2020 Reopening Plan Template. All school districts, state-tribal education compact schools, and charter schools are required to submit the plan to OSPI and the State Board of Education within two weeks of their fall 2020 start date. The plan must be approved by their local governing body.
- On June 24, OSPI published a questions & answers (Q&A) document to provide answers to some of the questions about reopening schools raised most frequently by school and district administrators.
- On June 11, 2020, OSPI published the Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide. The guide includes guidance by OSPI and 120+ member workgroup, as well as sections on health and safety from the Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Industries.
Smaller workgroups will be meeting over the summer of 2020 to provide school districts with guidance and recommendations on serving certain student groups in the fall, including students with disabilities, students in career and technical education courses, and our youngest learners. There are also groups meeting to provide guidance on parent and family engagement, as well as higher education transitions. More information is available on the workgroup webpage.
- NEW: School Nutritions Programs Guide to Back to School (Published 7/31/2020). This back-to-school bulletin provides school districts with information about nutrition program waivers and health and safety guidelines for serving meals.
To support families during the COVID-19 crisis, the federal government has approved additional funds for meals for families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The food benefits are called Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits. On June 8, OSPI released a toolkit of resources for school districts to share information about P-EBT with eligible families.
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund, created through the CARES Act, will grant Washington state $216 million, of which $195 million will be provided to school districts as sub-award using the Title I allocation methodology.
Posted June 25, 2020: Final ESSER allocation amounts are available by district. In the spreadsheet, please see the second tab ("Final ESSER June 22") for the final allocation amounts.
Posted June 25, 2020 is 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. In preparation for submitting their initial claim for CARES Act funding disbursement, districts should follow the directions in the tool and submit their COVID-related expenditures since March 2020.
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.
Posted June 25, 2020: OSPI is crafting guidance on how to quantify and report student FTE through a continuous learning or hybrid learning model for the 2020–21 school year. When the guidance is finalized, it will be posted to this section of the webpage.
Basic Education Funding Sources
Published May 4, 2020 is a high-level overview of the state budget with respect to basic education versus non-basic education funding sources. This document is for discussion purposes only, and is not intended to be legally binding. Questions on the included categories or characterizations should be directed to T.J. Kelly, Chief Financial Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-725-6301.
State law (RCW 28A.150.220) requires school districts to provide a district-wide average of 1,027 instructional hours and 180 school days within each academic year. Ordinarily, districts receive state funding based on the number of students enrolled in the district during that time. OSPI is authorized to waive these requirements for districts in the event of unforeseen emergency events, including epidemics (RCW 28A.150.290).
On April 29, 2020, OSPI adopted temporary emergency rules (Chapter 392-901 WAC) establishing the terms and conditions governing school districts' entitlement to state funds during the 2019–20 school year when the district was unable to fully meet the required number of school days and instructional hours.
The terms and conditions are explained in the School Days & Instructional Hours Emergency Waivers & District Reporting Requirements: Frequently Asked Questions document published April 30, 2020.
The publications on supporting multilingual students/English learners and migrant students under Title I, Part C are intended to provide school districts with guidance and strategies for providing continuous learning to these student populations during school facility closures. The publications were published on April 27, 2020.
- Apoyo a los estudiantes multilingües/de inglés durante el cierre de las (Publicado 14/05/2020)
- Apoyo a estudiantes migrantes conforme al Título I Parte C durante el cierre de escuelas (Publicado 15/05/2020)
During school facility closures, Superintendent Reykdal has eliminated pass/fail grading as a matter of state policy. Student learning and grading for the remainder of the school facility closure will focus on the following framework:
- Students in grades K–8 will be challenged to demonstrate effort and success in learning standards established by their teachers. Students will move on to the next grade, unless by mutual agreement between parents/guardians and teachers they agree to repeat a grade or a portion of learning missed. Districts will retain complete decision-making on middle school grading practices for students not taking high school credit-bearing courses.
- Grades 9–12 and middle school students taking credit-bearing high school level work will be graded using the following principles:
- Do no harm!
- Every student will get an opportunity to improve their grade with their March 17 status as a baseline.
- No student will receive a “pass,” “fail,” or “no credit” grade for any course.
- Teachers will assign grades or assign an “incomplete” for students that cannot engage in an equitable way.
- Every class taken during the closure period will be given a statewide designator on the high school transcript to denote the unique environment in which the course was taken.
- Students assigned an “incomplete” for a course will be given opportunities to re-engage in the learning standards based on local school district decisions in consultation with the student/parents/guardians, including but not limited to:
- Summer school,
- Courses in the following term or year,
- Independent study,
- Competency-based courses,
- Online courses, or
- Backfilling the incomplete grade with the letter grade obtained in the next course taken in that subject area.
- All students will be given an opportunity to engage in continuous learning to maintain or improve their mastery of essential standards.
This statewide framework will create more consistency across the state, but districts will still decide which letter grade system to use. However, “F’s” will not be an option. The full Student Learning & Grading Guidance document was published on April 21, 2020.
Emergency rules filed April 29, 2020 establish the terms and conditions governing local education agencies' (LEAs') entitlement to receive basic education apportionment allocations during the 2019–20 school year when the LEAs could not offer the statutory minimum number of school days or annual average total instructional hour offerings due to emergency closures. The emergency rules also address standards for continuous learning for the remainder of the 2019–20 school year.
Questions about the guidance and the rules have been collected and answered in the Student Learning & Grading Guidance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document posted April 29, 2020.
Separately, on May 29, OSPI, in partnership with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Council of Presidents, and Student Achievement Council, published a joint statement regarding the grading of College in the High School and Running Start courses.
Although schools are closed from providing traditional in-person instruction, education must continue. All schools were expected to have begun providing educational services by March 30, 2020.
OSPI's Continuous Learning 2020 publication, developed in partnership with a stakeholder group of education leaders, provides school districts with detailed guidance, tools, and resources for meeting student, educator, and family needs while schools are closed.
In late February and early March, we set a high bar for districts who wanted to continue distance learning if their school buildings were to close. The situation in our state has drastically evolved since that time. Subsequent to our initial guidance, Governor Inslee has shut down all schools in the state for a minimum of six weeks (which has since been extended) and the U.S. Department of Education has provided much needed guidance. We have an obligation to our students to provide them with opportunities to continue their learning during this pandemic.
The term “continuous learning” means establishing and maintaining connections with students and families to provide learning materials and supports using a variety of modalities (e.g., email, phone, printed learning materials, and available online platforms).
Resources to assist districts, students, and parents/guardians are available on OSPI's Resources for Continuous Learning During School Closures webpage.
- Aprendizaje continuo 2020 (Publicado 15/05/2020)
*This information is specific to the Class of 2020. Guidance and resources for the Class of 2021 will come at a later date.
During the long-term school closure in spring 2020, school districts should work with students, their families, and their communities to ensure seniors remain on track to graduate. Bulletin 022-20 provides school and district staff with options and flexibility for providing seniors with the assistance they need, including guidance on meeting credit requirements, assessment options, dual credit, special education services, alternative learning settings, and supporting their emotional well-being.
On April 29, 2020, OSPI published a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document about graduation pathways for the Class of 2020. The FAQ covers questions related to flexibility in graduation requirements for the Class of 2020, graduation pathways, pathways for students with disabilities, and the Expedited Assessment Appeals (EAA) waiver.
On May 27, 2020, the state Department of Health published guidance on child care, youth development, and summer day camps during the COVID-19 outbreak.
During long-term school closures, child care will be critically important to support frontline healthcare workers and first responders who are focused on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
Schools may choose to offer child care independently or in collaboration with community-based organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and YMCA. If schools operate preschool programs or have existing partnerships with Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), Head Start, or other community-based preschool programs, they should determine the extent to which these programs may be able serve prioritized children and families. If schools intend to offer infant and toddler care, they should partner with an experienced community-based organization or staff with individuals who have expertise in infant and toddler care to manage these efforts.
Child care should continue to be provided throughout the entire school closure period, including during previously scheduled spring breaks or release days. Schools are not expected to provide child care on evenings or weekends. Families needing care outside of the school’s care schedule should contact the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center at 1-800-446-1114.
Schools must adhere to the guidelines for maintaining health and safety in child care environments provided by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). DOH provides guidance for health screening, social distancing, and other health and safety practices, as well steps to take if children, staff, or parents/guardians contract COVID-19 or develop symptoms. Persons who are older, pregnant, have underlying health conditions, or have compromised immune systems are at higher risk of developing complications from this virus. These individuals should not provide child care or visit child care facilities.
- Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Special Education Guidance (Published 7/30/20)
- Special Education Planning Guide (Published 7/30/20)
- Q&A: Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities in Fall and Summer 2020 (Published 7/10/20)
More information about provision of special education services is included on OSPI’s COVID-19 Special Education Guidance webpage.
- OSPI Q&A: Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities During School Closures for COVID-19 (Updated 7/10/20)
- Supporting Inclusionary Practices During School Facility Closure (Published 4/7/20)
- U.S. Department of Education’s Q&A from March 12, 2020
- U.S. Department of Education's Supplemental Fact Sheet from March 21, 2020
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.
- Guidance from the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB). This includes guidance regarding:
- Teacher assessments
- Certificate renewals
- Clock hours
- Educator preparation programs
- Health Care Authority information on School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) continuity during the Governor's state of emergency
- State Board of Education preliminary information about waiving credits for on-track graduating seniors
For Students & Families
In response to school closures due to COVID-19, OSPI content experts have 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.
- Talking to Your Children About School Closures (Published 3/13/2020)
Videos of Superintendent Reykdal
- Superintendent Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopenings Amid the Current COVID Landscape (Published 7/22/20)
- Superintendent Reykdal Answers Questions from the Public About Going Back to School in the Fall (Published 6/20/20)
- Superintendent Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopening & Thanks Educators, Parents, and Students (Published 6/14/20)
- Press Conference: Superintendent Reykdal Announces Fall Guidance for Reopening Schools (Live on 6/11/20)
- Superintendent Reykdal Explores Health Models & Discusses Fall Reopening Workgroup (Published 5/25/20)
- Superintendent Chris Reykdal Explains Student Learning & Grading Policy (Published 4/21/20)
- Superintendent Reykdal Addresses Grading & Supports for Students with Disabilities During School Closures (Published 4/17/20)
- Educator Q&A with Superintendent Chris Reykdal During COVID-19 School Closures (Published 4/9/20)
- Q&A with Superintendent Chris Reykdal During COVID-19 School Closures (Published 4/3/20)
- A Message from State Superintendent Chris Reykdal During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Published 3/27/20)
- May 27: K–4 Expectations During Long-term School Closures (Bulletin 037-20)
- April 27: Supporting English Learners During School Facility Closures (Publication)
- April 27: Supporting Migrant Students During School Facility Closures (Publication)
- April 21: Student Learning & Grading Guidance (Publication)
- April 15: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #7 (Bulletin 032-20)
- April 8: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #6 (Bulletin 031-20)
- April 7: Supporting Inclusionary Practices During School Facility Closure (Publication)
- April 6: Continuous Learning 2020 (Publication)
- March 23: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #5 (Bulletin 025-20)
- March 23: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #4 (Bulletin 024-20)
- March 20: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #3 (Bulletin 022-20)
- March 18: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #2 (Bulletin 021-20)
- March 17: Letter to Superintendents and Labor Leaders
- March 13: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #1 (Bulletin 019-20)
- March 6: COVID-19 Guidance on Online Learning, Waivers, and School Closures (Bulletin 016-20)
- March 3: Further COVID-19 Guidance (Bulletin 014-20)
- February 28: Preparation for Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in Washington State (Bulletin 013-20)
- February 26: Letter to Superintendents