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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 as we experience this unprecedented situation together. The most current guidance and resources are provided below.

For School Districts

On October 5, 2020, OSPI co-hosted a webinar with specialists from the Department of Labor & Industries and the Department of Health. The purpose of the webinar was to review guidance released on September 30, 2020 related to employer health and safety requirements in K–12 school scenarios.

Guidance for school districts on school meals during the pandemic is available on OSPI’s Meals & Nutrition Guidance webpage.

Working families will have increased need for child care and supervision during remote and hybrid learning. Schools are encouraged to communicate with families about their child care needs frequently, as it will likely fluctuate based on changes to school schedules and employment requirements. Districts may direct families needing child care to the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center at 1-800-446-1114.

The capacity of child care and youth development programs to meet the needs of families will vary significantly from previous years and by community. School districts are encouraged to reach out to community child care and youth development programs to determine what is needed, prioritizing referrals to existing programs before standing up additional child care options. To connect with licensed child care providers in your area, contact Child Care Aware and visit School’s Out Washington’s Open Programs & School Age Childcare Map.

OSPI, together with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families; Child Care Aware; and School’s Out Washington, has produced a webcast called Beginning Child Care and Youth Development Partnerships for the 2020-21 School Year that provides guidance and examples that district may find helpful. 

Additional resources for child care and youth development partnerships: 

Federal Funding

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: 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.

State Apportionment

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 thomas.kelly@k12.wa.us 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[2]).

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 Emergency School Closure Waiver Application must be submitted by all local education agencies (LEAs) requesting a waiver of instructional hours or school days that the LEA was unable to offer in the 2019–20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other unforeseen emergency events.

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.

*The information linked here is specific to the Class of 2020. However, much of the information is still relevant for the current senior class this fall. Updated guidance and resources for the Class of 2021 will come at a later date.

During the school building closures this fall, school districts should continue to work with students, their families, and their communities to ensure seniors remain on track to graduate. Published last spring, Bulletin 022-20 established 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. An FAQ document covers questions and answers related to flexibility in graduation requirements for the Class of 2020, but may be partially relevant for the Class of 2021. It includes information about graduation pathways and pathways for students with disabilities.

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

K–12 Internet Access Program

The K–12 Internet Access Program connects students in need to internet access at home with no cost to the student or their family. Through the program, students whose families are low-income and are not currently connected to the internet can get connected through the end of the 2020–21 school year for free.

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. 

Previous Guidance

Videos of Superintendent Reykdal