RESTRICTED PUBLIC ACCESS TO OSPI BUILDING

In accordance with the Governor’s Proclamation 20-25, “Stay Home, Stay Healthy,” and to protect the health and safety of Washingtonians and our employees, at this time, there is restricted public access to the OSPI building. OSPI will continue serving the public via phone, email, and the website.

See OSPI’s COVID-19 guidance and resources for educators, students, and families.

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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

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Washington's Plan for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund

The ARP ESSER fund, authorized by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), provides funding to schools to support sustained safe building reopenings and operations while meeting the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. OSPI submitted Washington's plan for use of the ARP ESSER funds, required by the U.S. Department of Education, on June 7, 2021. 

NEW, published May 21: Options for Instructional Funding Models in 2021–22, Bulletin 034-21.

OSPI, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Governor's Office expect all K–12 students to have the opportunity to attend school in-person full-time in the 2021–22 school year. On May 13, DOH published the guidance K–12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021–22 School Year

Also on May 13, Superintendent Reykdal published the press statement "Reykdal: We are Returning to School Buildings Next Year" following the release of the DOH guidance. On May 14, OSPI published an FAQ document answering top questions about returning to school in Fall 2021.

Some key takeaways from DOH's guidance include:

  • The following mandatory mitigation measures continue to be in place: face coverings, ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting, and responding to and reporting COVID-19 cases.
  • Physical distancing is recommended by DOH – 3 feet in classrooms, and 6 feet elsewhere – to the greatest extent possible.
    • Flexible language in the guidance related to physical distancing (i.e., “to the greatest extent possible” and “to the degree possible and reasonable”) ensures you are able to provide full-time in-person instruction to every student and family who wants it.
    • Schools should have a contingency plan for the 2021–22 school year that does not include physical distancing.
  • School related and sponsored extracurricular activities, including field trips, performing arts, and sports, must follow all relevant Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery guidance.

Each public school district, tribal compact school, and charter school in Washington state is required by the state Legislature and by Congress to create and submit an Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan by June 1, 2021. The goal of the plan is to identify which students and student groups need additional academic and well-being supports, define how those supports will be provided, and plan for recovery and acceleration of student learning and well-being over the summer, into the fall, and beyond.

By June 1, 2021, districts must submit their plans via an online survey. OSPI has provided a fillable Word version of the template, as well as a Condensed Planning Tool, to support district administrators and school board directors as they work through their plan. Each district must post their plan to their public website and receive approval of their plan by their governing body prior to submitting their plan to OSPI.

To support completion of the plan, OSPI produced an Academic & Student Well-being Recovery Planning Guide in partnership with education leaders from districts, schools, and classrooms, as well as from education partner organizations. OSPI also published a Frequently Asked Questions document providing answers to some commonly asked questions.

Translated Versions of the Fillable Word Template:
Arabic | Chinese | Marshallese | Russian | Somali | Spanish | Ukrainian | Vietnamese

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal has decided Washington state will not administer Smarter Balanced Assessments or the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science in spring 2021.

Standardized testing this spring will not support our students’ mental health and is not the best use of our limited remaining in-person instructional time this school year. In addition, without a rigorous sampling methodology, state assessments this spring would yield inequitable access to supports for remote learners, a substantial number of students and families opting out, and results would not be reliable or actionable.

More information is available on OSPI's Washington State Spring 2021 Assessment Plan webpage.

On March 12, 2021, Governor Inslee announced an executive order related to protecting the mental and behavioral health of children and youth in Washington (updated on March 26, 2021). The order requires all public K–12 schools in Washington to provide each student with the opportunity to learn in-person at their school, for no fewer than two days per week, by April 19, 2021. 

On March 25, 2021, Governor Inslee announced that our state's physical distancing requirements within K–12 schools will be changed to follow the CDC guidance that was released on March 19. Our state’s guidance previously followed the CDC recommendation to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between students. 

The CDC guidance only recommends a reduction of distance between students. The guidance for distance between staff, as well as between staff and student(s), remains 6 feet. In addition, there are certain situations where 3 feet between students is not sufficient, like when students are eating and cannot wear masks.

  • The timeline of this change is as follows:
    • This goes into effect immediately. This means schools may begin reducing distance between students to a minimum of 3 feet now.
    • For the remainder of the 2020–21 school year, this is a minimum requirement, and school districts will retain the option to maintain 6 feet of distance.
    • Beginning this summer and carrying into the fall, districts will no longer have the option of using the 6-foot minimum between students. As long as trends of reductions in cases continue and a majority of our state’s adult population has received their COVID vaccine, schools will not need to continue placing students at 6 feet apart.

For more information, please see:

As school buildings reopen, they must continue to follow all health and safety requirements:

Updated 3/25/21: The guidance, Employer Health & Safety Requirements for School Scenarioshas been updated to align with the K–12 guidance (specifically around physical distancing requirements) released by the Department of Health.

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 the guidance related to employer health and safety requirements in K–12 school scenarios.

Federal Funding

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has provided schools with three rounds of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds.  In total, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in Washington will receive over $2.5 billion for expenditures related to COVID-19 response.  While many of the rules provided by the federal government and the state have remained consistent between all three rounds of funding, there are some slight differences including but not limited to a period of allowable use and the basis for making claims against ESSER funds.  Feel free to reach out to our Chief Financial Officer, T.J. Kelly with questions at  thomas.kelly@k12.wa.us.

Posted June 9, 2021: Maintenance of Equity (MOEquity) Requirements for ARP ESSER (ESSER III) Funds

This document represents the latest guidance from the federal government regarding the maintenance of equity (MOEquity) requirements of ARP ESSER (ESSER III) Funds. MOEquity is a set of new fiscal equity requirements in ARP ESSER.  Specifically, MOEquity ensures the following:

  • An SEA does not disproportionately reduce per-pupil State funding to high-need LEAs.
  • An SEA does not reduced per-pupil State funding to the highest-poverty LEAs below their FY 2019 level.
  • An LEA does not disproportionately reduce State and local per-pupil funding in high-poverty schools.
  • An LEA does not disproportionately reduce the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff per-pupil in high-poverty schools.

If you have questions after reading through the document, please reach out to Amy Harris at Amy.Harris@k12.wa.us or T.J. Kelly at thomas.kelly@k12.wa.us

Posted June 1, 2021: Federal ESSER Use of Funds Questions and Answers Document (May 2021)

This document represents the latest guidance from the federal government regarding the use of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds. Please review the entire document if looking to answer a specific question. The document does state, in general, when asking whether an activity is an allowable use of funds, a State or LEA must determine:

  • Is the use of funds intended to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students?
  • Does the use of funds fall under one of the authorized uses of ESSER or GEER funds?
  • Is the use of funds permissible under the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Grant Guidance, 2 CFR Part 200)? In particular, is it necessary and reasonable for the performance of the ESSER or GEER award?

Also, the document clearly states that lost revenue is not an allowable claim. All claims on ESSER II and III funds must be supported by allowable expenditures which have already been incurred.

Posted May 26, 2021: Combined ESSER Allocations By School District Including ESSER III Estimates

Posted May 26, 2021: Non-Title I District Funding

Posted April 20, 2021: Comparison of the Maintenance of Effort Requirements in the CARES Act, the CRRSA Act, and the ARP Act. This document walks through the various MOE requirements of the different rounds of federal COVID relief funding for schools.  This is an excerpt of a more comprehensive document that can be found at Guidance on Maintenance of Effort Requirements and Waiver Requests under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.  As stated in the more comprehensive document, the Department of Education will be releasing separate guidance on the new State and local educational agency (LEA) maintenance of equity requirements in section 2004(b) and (c) of the ARP Act in the near future. When this guidance is released, we will make it available on this webpage.

Posted March 23, 2021: Comparison of Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding Sources and State Funding. This document details some of the key similarities and differences of the federal COVID-19 relief funding streams including statewide total amounts, period of availability, allocation methodology, accounting revenue codes, and required uses of funding.  As a reminder, each of these federal funding streams needs specific authorization from the legislature via law or unanticipated receipts process before OSPI can make funds available to districts.

Posted March 1, 2021: Total ESSER II Awards Including Amounts Currently Available to Districts. Please see the spreadsheet 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 for ESSER I and ESSER II claims. In preparation for submitting claims for CARES Act funding disbursement, districts should follow the directions in the tool and submit their COVID-related expenditures since March 2020 using the applicable link: 

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.

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.

Emergency Relief for Non-Public Schools (EANS) Resources

Instructions for Completing Phase II Application (FP – 121) 
This document will walk you through the different pages and steps within the application in the iGrants system including getting access to the iGrants system and the following pages:  EANS Assurances and Determination of Eligibility, Non-Public School Data, Non-Public School Services and Assistance, and the Budget Matrix.  In addition, this document provides an overview of the steps needed to submit a claim for your EANS allocation.

EANS Allowable Activities and Budget Matrix Codes
This document provides a high-level overview of allowable EANS activities, the budget coding for such activities, and examples of such expenditures.

Form 1000E
Schools should use this form to request reimbursement from EANS funds.  Schools can do that once per month, or less frequently if desired.

Instructions for Filling Out the 1000E for Claims Purpose

Process to Access Services for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools

As our state and nation continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington's schools are working closely with local health authorities to determine the right mode of instructional delivery for their community. Every week, each public school district, state-tribal education compact school, and charter school is required to submit data on their current reopening status to OSPI.

The data are posted to the OSPI website and updated weekly (each Wednesday) to reflect each district's current instructional delivery model, including which student groups they are serving through in-person learning. If you have questions about the data or need assistance navigating the data visualization, please email Achievement Data

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

Working families will have an 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: 

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.

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. 

Family Engagement

This publication is a companion resource to the OSPI’s prior Reopening Washington Schools 2020 District Planning Guide, issued June 2020. The Family Engagement document provides guidance and strategies for building strong family, school, district, and community partnerships, and identifies resources to build and strengthen connections across these groups. You will find key questions, suggested actions, and resources for five categories of building successful Family engagement.

Previous Guidance

Videos of Superintendent Reykdal