Welcome to Kalama School District’s return to school resource page!
Latest update: On Thursday, March 25, the Washington State Department of Health officially adopted the CDC’s revised social distancing guidance for schools, which allows for three feet of physical distance between students in classrooms, down from six feet. This change in guidance does not apply to periods when masks cannot be worn (such as during lunch), nor does it apply to common areas, to adults in the classroom, or during activities when increased exhalation occurs (sports, band, etc.).
With this new guidance comes the potential to add more in-person learning time, assuming COVID activity levels do not spike. Our school teams are reviewing the updated guidance now, and are planning to incorporate it into our reopening plan.
Any schedule changes resulting from the new guidance will be shared soon after Spring Break.
Metrics for decision-making
In March 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) issued new guidance to inform decisions about in-person learning and the risk of COVID-19 transmission in school environments.
Based on existing science, expert public health opinion, current policies, and stakeholder input, the revised guidance uses information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention.
We are currently at a “Substantial” level of COVID-19 community transmission, according to Cowlitz County Public Health (as of Monday, April 12, 2021).
In areas with high community transmission, the CDC and DOH recommend that middle and high school students use cohorting (small groups) and at least three feet of distance between students or at least six feet of physical distance between students if cohorting is not possible. The CDC defines high community transmission as COVID-19 case rate of greater than 200 cases per 100,000 population over 14 days or test positivity is greater than 10%.
Home-based remote instruction
Families have the option to enroll their student(s) in a home-based remote learning program that is offered all year long. Students in this program will work with our teachers using the same curriculum as their peers on the modified in-person track. Scheduled in-person office hours will also be available to support these students.
Students who sign up for the home-based remote learning program are expected to commit to it for the remainder of the school year. Those who are interested in switching to hybrid learning after being enrolled in the online-only program may be placed on a waiting list.
Per state guidelines, each day that students attend in-person classes on campus, parents and guardians must attest that their student(s) is free of COVID-19 symptoms prior to boarding a school bus or entering a school building.
To simplify the attestation process, so that families don’t have to submit health attestation forms every time their student has in-person learning, we’ve created an electronic Daily Health Screen Agreement Form. By completing this form, parents/guardians are able to agree in advance to conducting part of this daily COVID-19 screening, and to keep their student(s) at home if they have any symptoms. Families that choose NOT TO complete this form will be required to submit a written attestation of health form every day their student is on campus.
We encourage families to fill out and submit the electronic form as soon as possible and prior to your student arriving on campus for in-person learning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are students required to wear masks on campus?
Yes. When on campus, all students will be required to wear masks and the school will adhere to cleaning and social distancing requirements as outlined by the Washington State Department of Health.
Do students get a mask break during the day?
Yes, students are provided with mask breaks during the day.
Are school buses operating?
Yes, bus transportation is now available. To register your student for the bus, visit the KWRL Bus Registration page.
Why did younger students return to school for in-person learning before older students?
Emerging studies and data suggests that young children are less likely to spread the infection than older children. That said, it is still very important for schools to ensure safety measures are in place such as physical distancing, use of face coverings, hand-washing and small cohorts.
Is it true that the district is running a home school program this year?
No, this is not the case. The district’s home-based remote program is not the same as traditional “home school,” which is instruction provided by a parent. The district’s home-based remote program is supported by Kalama School District staff and resources. Parents are not expected to provide the instruction for any of our K-12 courses.
How will we know if there’s an outbreak at a school?
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school district will engage in the contact tracing process, notifying close contacts and working directly with the Department of Health. Our district will inform staff and families of students if/when there is an outbreak of COVID-19. The identity of students with confirmed cases will be kept anonymous.
We will continue to update this page with additional questions and answers as often as possible. If you have immediate questions, please contact your student's school or the district office. We are here to support you and your student in this transition.