• August 25, 2021

    Dear Northwood Families,

    The first day of the 21-22 school year is almost here.  We are excited to meet and greet students and their families.

    Last week, the Elementary Principals provided an overview video of the COVID-19 mitigation measures we have in place at our elementary schools.  Below, please find this information, including some additional details based on questions we heard and new guidance that has been provided.

    Virus Mitigation Factors in Place: These layered mitigation factors follow the guidance and requirements put forth by the Washington State Department of Health, King County Department of Health, OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction).

    • Masks: Students must wear a mask each day and keep it on when they are in the building, with the exception of when they are eating or drinking. The mask must be properly worn (covers the nose and mouth and down to the chin) and be clean and dry each day. Child sized “procedure masks” will be available in all classrooms and buses. All staff will also wear a mask.
      • To help students learn how to properly wear a mask, please view this video created by one of our District nurses: How to Don and Doff Face Coverings
      • Please send 1-2 extra masks to school in a zip seal plastic bag, labeled with your child’s name, so that we can replace a student mask if needed during the day.
    • Physical Distancing: Per current Public Health guidance, our goal is to maintain a physical distance of three feet or more between students in classroom settings to the degree possible and reasonable, that allows for full-time, in-person learning for all students.  Classroom arrangements will be created based on the guidelines of distancing to approximately 3 feet or more.  Colored dots at approximately 6 foot intervals on the sidewalks and in the courtyard continue to provide reminders to students to maintain distance when outdoors in lines, waiting at the car loop, etc.
    • Frequent Hand Washing/Hand Sanitizing: We will support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing adequate supplies, including soap, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans. Teachers and staff will practice, teach, encourage, and monitor proper handwashing, and respiratory etiquette.  Students will have access to hand sanitizer in classrooms and in common spaces.
      • One of our District Nurses made an informative video that can help your student develop effective handwashing practices: Nurse Eric Handwashing Video
    • Frequent cleaning and sanitizing: Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized during the day as will other high touch areas such as door handles. In addition, all classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized each evening (utilizing both Oxivar tb and a Clorox 360 machine). The sanitizing products and procedures adhere to DOH guidance and have been created in collaboration with our Maintenance and Nursing teams.
    • Maximum Air Flow in all buildings/rooms: All schools have their air handlers set to allow maximum air flow throughout the building. In addition, filters are replaced frequently and at the highest filter rating available. Although we will have capacity to warm the air in the winter months, this degree of moving fresh air into the building does mean our buildings may be a bit colder than expected — students are encouraged to bring layers (labeled with their names) so they can adjust clothing to their comfort level.
    • Separate room for students with potential COVID-19 symptoms: All schools have space set aside to provide for distance between any student who begins to display COVID-19 symptoms and all other students. Parents will be contacted and required to immediately pick up any student with potential COVID-19 symptoms.
      • Any student, teacher, or staff who reports COVID-19-like symptoms at school will be immediately isolated from others and sent home and referred to diagnostic testing as soon as feasible. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they may not return to school for 10 days after symptom onset, or 10 days after a positive test if no symptoms are present.
      • It is very important that you check your approved emergency contacts in Skyward to verify that at least one or two of the contacts would be regularly available to pick up students from school quickly (once they are showing potential symptoms, we cannot allow them to ride the bus back home or return to class).

    Health Attestations:

    • Daily health attestations are no longer required. Please keep your children at home if they are ill, show symptoms of COVID-19 or flu, or have been exposed to a known or suspected case of COVID-19.  Please use the Northwood Absentee Alert line to report your child’s absence:  206-275-5879.

    Bus Transportation:

    • If your child will be taking the bus, information from our Transportation Department, including mitigation measures, was emailed to families on August 18 and can be located here: Transportation Services / Transportation Home.  Additionally, you can use the e-Link tool on the web page to check on your child’s eligibility for bus-riding. 

    Lunch & Snacks:

    • Per DOH guidelines, physical distancing and other mitigation measures will be in place during lunch, including maximizing distance as much as possible and reasonable for lunches to occur. We have added more tables to our lunch rooms and will expand the spaces used at each school site for students to eat lunch.  At Northwood, this means our students will be spread out across the length and width of the dining commons and the appended space previously reserved for quiet dining.  Fewer students will be seated at each table, and indicator dots will help remind students about where to sit to maintain distance.  Additionally, we have purchased see-through trifold barriers that will be placed between students, adding another layer of mitigation.  Students will also be provided with instruction and reminders to focus on eating during lunch and snack times and to replace their masks when they are not actively eating or drinking.  If a student has to get up from the table for any reason, they will also don their masks. 
    • DOH guidelines will also be followed by teachers in the classroom when it is their snack time. Teachers will support students in maximizing distances between one another, including strategies such as all students facing the same direction and staying in one spot as they eat.  Snack times will be short in duration (10 minutes or less) with students required to replace their masks when they are not actively eating or drinking.  Please consider this timeframe when selecting snacks to send with your child. 

    Recess:

    We will have three recess periods throughout the day.  Per the latest guidance from the Secretary of Health’s Mask Order, face coverings are not required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status. Students may choose to wear a mask outdoors. There may be moments, such as passing by others or during play at recess when students are not fully physically distanced from each other. We will continue to maximize opportunities to increase physical space between students during all scheduled activities and limit interactions in large group settings.

    Community Events or Large Gatherings

    We will hold any community gatherings outside to the extent possible. Any food or beverages will be provided in a way that is individually accessible. There will be an open house held indoors on Tuesday, August 31st (3:00-4:00pm), and we ask that all attendees remember to mask up and maintain physical distancing.  The PTA will also host Welcome Coffees outdoors and in accordance with DOH guidelines.  Masks are required for all visitors when inside Northwood Elementary.  PTA scheduled Welcome Events include the following:

    • September 1 @ 9:20-10:00am Coffee and Donuts Meet and Greet - Northwood Outdoor Courtyard
    • September 3 @ 9:30-10:00am PTA Meeting Welcome Coffee - Northwood Outdoor Courtyard; 10:00-11:00 Local Programs and Activities Fair - Northwood Commons
    • September 8 @ 9:15-10:15am New Families and ELL Welcome - Northwood Outdoor Courtyard 

    Classroom Volunteers

    We are still working with the latest guidance as it pertains to volunteers on campus. More information will be provided to our community when available. 

    How to prepare/What to send to school:

    • Update emergency contact information in Skyward (refer to virus mitigation factors above)
    • Masks (refer to virus mitigation factors above)
    • If your child has a health plan, please be sure you have connected with the nurse and provided any medications in accordance with that plan prior to the first day of in-person school.
    • Coat and sweatshirt/sweater; layers that can keep students warm on the bus, at school, at recess (refer to virus mitigation factors above). Please be sure to put your child’s name on their clothing to help them keep track of items.
    • Healthy snack; it is important that the student can efficiently open their own snack to limit the chance of virus spread during a time when students will have their masks off. In addition, no food with known allergens will be allowed. This may include tree nuts, peanuts, or other foods. Your child’s teacher will advise you of any classroom food allergens to avoid.  Finally, we ask that all snacks be consumable in a 10-minute-or-less period.
    • Water Bottle; students may bring a small water bottle to use while at school. We ask bottles to be taken home daily to be washed before they return to school.
    • Backpack; we request regular size backpacks, without wheels and drag handles, be used to allow for easier storage in our classrooms given physical distancing processes.

    More questions?

    Information can be found in the District’s 2020-21 MISD COVID-19 Response Plan .  Additionally, an FAQ has been recently compiled and shared on the District website.

     

    Our elementary schools are working hard to provide the best instructional program for all students while maintaining a safe environment for our entire learning community.  Thank you for your support as we prepare to start the 2021-22 school year.

     

    Respectfully,

     

    Aimee Batliner-Gillette

    Principal | Northwood Elementary School

Last Modified on September 8, 2021