On Wednesday, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Governor Jay Inslee asked school districts around the state of Washington to prepare for potential closures.
The Governor's statement prompted the following letter to school families and community members from Kalama School District Superintendent, Eric Nerison:
Dear Kalama School District families,
Earlier today, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Governor Inslee announced a ban on large scale public events (more than 250 people) in the Seattle area. He also asked school districts across the state to prepare for potential closures. Hours later, several districts in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties announced plans to close.
While most districts throughout the state remain open, we know this news raises many questions for our schools and other districts in our area. Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cowlitz County, we are in the process of reviewing school events and activities and developing contingency plans in case things change.
Our schools serve many functions in the community that stretch well beyond the classroom. For instance, they help meet many of our students’ basic needs, such as daily nutrition, and support families by providing a safe place for students while parents are at work.
We want to continue to support KSD families by keeping our schools open as long as they are safe for staff and students. However, that does not mean changes are out of the question, such as canceling or scaling back events to minimize exposure.
It is our hope that we do not have to enact any of these contingencies, but in situations like this it is essential to be prepared. While we cannot always control things like weather or disease, we do have control over our response. We will continue our commitment to disinfect our schools and reinforce good hygiene with our students. We ask that you continue to partner with us in keeping our students safe.
To help reduce the risk of illness in our schools, we ask that if your student is showing signs of a respiratory virus (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath) that you keep them at home until they have been free of symptoms for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
I know that this is an evolving situation, and recommendations from state officials and health authorities are changing rapidly. Our district will continue to keep you updated with new developments. In the meantime, please continue to take care of yourself and your family.
Kalama School District Superintendent