Yesterday, Governor Inslee announced that he is mandating the closure of the three main Puget Sound School in districts in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Closures will begin Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, April 24. He also banned gatherings of 250 or more people in these same counties.
There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kalama School District, or the surrounding parts of Cowlitz County. Our district, like most across the state, remains open. However, district leaders have also been instructed by the Governor to create contingency plans, should the situation change.
As you know from our previous communications, KSD is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, maintaining regular contact with local health department officials and creating closure contingency plans. We are also taking precautions related to cleaning, canceling high-risk events and modifying other events on a case-by-case basis.
If Cowlitz County schools were to be closed for an extended period of time, this would have a big impact on the community as a whole. As of yesterday afternoon, districts still open in the state were given the gift of time to prepare for extended closures, but we were told to “prepare.”
Extended closures will impact things like the need for daycare and food services, and they will put pressure on the ability of medical professionals and first responders to do their jobs. The district's goal, in the event of a long-term closure situation, would be to leverage Kalama School District resources to mitigate this problem for our families and community members.
The district is asking families to help maintain healthy schools by keeping students home if they are showing signs of a respiratory illness (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath).
"I understand this is a time of uncertainty," said KSD Superintendent Eric Nerison, "but Kalama is a great community and we will work through the challenge together,"