- Letter to Superintendents: Addressing Food & Labor Shortages (Sent 9/24/21)
- Additional Continuous Learning 2.0+ Guidance (Published 9/22/21)
- Supplemental Considerations to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K–12 Schools (Dept. of Health)
- Optional Template for School Districts: Medical Accommodation Request Form (Published 8/27/21)
- Optional Template for School Districts: Religious Accommodation Request Form (Published 8/23/21)
- Guidance for School Districts on Evaluating Religious Accommodation Requests (Published 8/23/21)
- FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for School Employees (Updated 9/3/21)
- OSPI Rule: Process and Timeline for Withholding Funds for Willful Violations of Health & Safety Requirements
- K–12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021–22 School Year (Dept. of Health)
- L&I Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 (Updated 6/30/21, Labor & Industries)
- Outbreaks in Schools Report (Updated monthly, Dept. of Health)
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance & Resources
OSPI is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources for school districts, as well as resources for students and families as appropriate, as we navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our students, school employees, families, and communities. The most current guidance and resources are provided below.
For School Districts
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.
School Employee Vaccine Requirement
As part of a safe and healthy reopening and our ability to provide continued in-person learning without major COVID-related disruptions, on August 18, Governor Inslee announced a new requirement for all K–12 school employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain a religious or medical exemption by October 18, 2021.
See more information about the requirement:
- Optional Template for School Districts: Medical Accommodation Request Form
- Optional Template for School Districts: Religious Accommodation Request Form
- Guidance for School Districts on Evaluating Religious Accommodation Requests
- COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for K–12 School Employees: Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 8/23/21)
- Governor Inslee Press Conference (Live on 8/18/21)
Health & Safety Requirements & Guidance
Schools are required, by order of the Governor, to follow the following health and safety guidance:
- K–12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021–22 School Year (Department of Health)
- Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 (Department of Labor & Industries)
If local education agencies willfully do not comply with health and safety requirements, OSPI will follow the process and timeline described in WAC 392-117-070 through WAC 392-117-085 to provide notice and time to come into compliance, and eventually withhold funds if noncompliance continues.
In addition to the required schools guidance, DOH has published a supplemental guidance document with considerations for schools in reducing virus transmission. Schools are not required to follow the strategies included in the guidance.
- Letter to Superintendents: Addressing Food & Labor Shortages (Sent September 24, 2021)
- Additional Continuous Learning 2.0+ Guidance, which outlines requirements and recommendations for schools to continue serving students during quarantine (Published September 22, 2021)
- Options for Instructional Funding Models in 2021–22 (Published May 21, 2021)
- K–12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021–22 School Year (updated regularly)
- COVID-19 Outbreaks in K–12 Schools Report (updated monthly)
- Supplemental Considerations to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K–12 Schools (Published September 13, 2021)
- "Learn to Return" COVID School Testing Website
- "Learn to Return" COVID Testing Playbook (published February 16, 2021)
Washington's Plan for the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund
Learning Recovery Reserve: Stakeholder Survey
While the bulk of ESSER funds go directly to school districts and are earmarked for specific programs, about 6% percent of funds (equivalent to $200 million) are broadly focused on learning recovery and acceleration. Throughout summer 2021, OSPI sought stakeholder input on uses for this amount. Please review the one-pager explainer, available in English and Spanish, which provides an overview on how the Legislature allocated federal ESSER funds.
- American Rescue Plan Act ESSER Funds: A Short Explainer
- Fondos ESSER de la Ley del Plan de Rescate Estadounidense: Breve explicación
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.
Data collected in the Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plans, due to OSPI by June 1, 2021, is available on the LEA Academic and Student Well-being Plan Data webpage.
The State Legislature and Congress required each public school district, tribal compact school, and charter school in Washington state to create and submit an Academic and Student Well-being Recovery Plan by June 1, 2021. The goal of the plan was to identify which students and student groups needed 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.Each district was required to post their plan to their public-facing 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 as well as a Condensed Planning Tool 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.
The most current guidance and resources related to funding is available on OSPI's COVID-19 State & Federal Funding webpage.
The most current guidance and resources related to supporting students receiving special education services during the pandemic are available on OSPI’s COVID-19 Special Education Guidance webpage.
As schools bring students back this fall, child care and youth development programs, like before and after school care, tutoring/mentoring, and wrap-around services, will be an important part of the support system families rely on. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these programs have offered academic and social-emotional support; access to computers and Wi-Fi; provided meals and snacks; connected students and families to financial, health, and other resources for families.
Increased collaboration and communication between schools and child/youth-serving community-based providers will be important for maintaining safety and continuity for children between school and programs, especially if there are instances of COVID-19 exposure. Working together in the months and years ahead, will also help ensure that the child/youth-serving sector can continue to thrive so that families have access to the programs they need. As the pandemic continues, many programs are facing staffing and funding challenges due to fluctuating enrollment.
Schools can take steps to support students and families by engaging with local child care and youth development programs to ensure good communication channels are in place; especially around children who are served in common. Below are some easy ways to help families and communities manage back to school as successfully as possible:
- Identify someone in the district as a point person between child care and youth development programs and share the contact information with those programs.
- Prioritize referrals to existing programs before standing up additional child care options.
- Plan for sharing information about known exposures between school and child care settings serving the same children, when possible, especially if the child care program regularly transports the child to school, or the school transports the child between care and school. Check with appropriate legal counsel when establishing information sharing agreements.
- Communicate changes in the school’s schedule/practices directly to child care and youth development programs to allow time to make adjustments to support families as needed.
- Connect with licensed child care providers in your area by contacting Child Care Aware.
- Visit School’s Out Washington’s Open Programs & School Age Childcare Map.
- Include child care and youth development programs in family-facing communications where appropriate. For instance, if the district sends regular updates to families via email, send to providers as well. If you need a list of child care providers. please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Encourage staff and families to sign up for WA Notify (also known as Washington Exposure Notifications), a free tool that works on smartphones to alert users if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 without sharing any personal information.
- Direct families needing child care to the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center website or to call 1-800-446-1114.
- Direct families needing assistance with paying for child care to Working Connections Child Care.
- Be open to creative ways to continue or begin sharing dedicated space with child care and youth development programs, including the use of classrooms, the gym, multipurpose room, cafeteria/kitchen, outdoor/grounds, and entry ways.
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.
- OSPI Q&A: Provision of Services to Students with Disabilities During School Closures for COVID-19 (Updated 7/10/20)
- U.S. Department of Education’s Q&A from March 12, 2020
- U.S. Department of Education's Supplemental Fact Sheet from March 21, 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
In the 2020–21 school year, OSPI, through the K–12 Internet Access Program (IAP), supported more than 34,000 low-income K–12 students and their families connect to the internet from home at no cost to the family. In late spring 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implemented the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. To continue their home internet service at no cost, families must transition from the IAP to the EBB.
For more information, please see the K–12 Internet Access Program webpage.
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.
Get step-by-step instructions on how to use 5 different teaching platforms.
- Canvas—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- Class Dojo—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- Google Classroom—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- SeeSaw—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
- Zoom—English | Arabic | Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Russian | Somalian | Spanish | Tagalog | Ukrainian | Vietnamese
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.
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.
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.
Videos of Superintendent Reykdal - COVID-19 Updates
- Media Availability: Supt. Reykdal on School Employee Vaccination Request (Live on 8/13/21)
- Letter to Gov. Inslee: School Employee Vaccination Request (Published 8/12/21)
- Supt. Reykdal on Masks, Vaccines, and Fall 2021 (Published 8/6/21)
- Supt. Reykdal on Plans for Fall 2021 (Published 5/13/21)
- Media Availability: Kaiser Permanente and OSPI Announce Partnership to Vaccinate School Employees (Live on 1/29/21)
- Press Conference: Governor Inslee and Superintendent Reykdal Announce New Guidance for Schools (Live on 12/16/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopenings Amid the Current COVID Landscape (Published 7/22/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Answers Questions from the Public About Going Back to School in the Fall (Published 6/20/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Discusses Fall Reopening & Thanks Educators, Parents, and Students (Published 6/14/20)
- Press Conference: Superintendent Reykdal Announces Fall Guidance for Reopening Schools (Live on 6/11/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Explores Health Models & Discusses Fall Reopening Workgroup (Published 5/25/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Explains Student Learning & Grading Policy (Published 4/21/20)
- Supt. Reykdal Addresses Grading & Supports for Students with Disabilities During School Building Closures (Published 4/17/20)
- Educator Q&A with Supt. Reykdal During COVID-19 School Building Closures (Published 4/9/20)
- Q&A with Supt. Reykdal During COVID-19 School Building Closures (Published 4/3/20)
- A Message from Supt. Reykdal During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Published 3/27/20)
- Emergency Absence Rule - (Effective November 9, 2020)
- October 16: School Reopening Data Dashboard
- September 30: Employer Health & Safety Requirements for School Scenarios (produced by OSPI, Department of Health, Department of Labor & Industries, local district superintendents, and school labor representatives)
- September 30: Preparing for or Expanding In-Person Instruction & Services
- August 31: 2020–21 School Year Student Discipline Q&A (Publication)
- August 26: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: School Nutrition Programs, Appendix A - Menu Builder Tool
- August 25: Guidance on Vaccine Requirements During COVID-19 (produced by the Department of Health and OSPI)
- August 24: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Dual Credit and Postsecondary Planning
- August 21: Clarifying Options to Claim Alternative Learning Experience Enrollment Funding in 2020–21
- August 20: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Supporting Multilingual/English Learners (updated 10/29/20)
- August 20: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Supporting Migrant Students Under Title I, Part C
- August 17: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Early Learning Planning Guide
- August 13: Emergency Rulemaking - Definition of Absence (Bulletin 064-20)
- Attendance and Truancy: Q&A for School Districts (Published 8/26/20)
- Side-by-Side Comparison of Emergency and Permanent Rule (Published 8/13/20)
- Definition of absence – OSPI rules (filed 8/13/20)
- August 13: 2020–21 Implementation of WaKIDS (Bulletin 062-20)
- August 7: Teacher & Principal Evaluation Guidance for 2020–21
- July 31: School Nutrition Programs Guide to Returning to School
- July 30: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: Special Education Guidance
- July 16: Washington Schools 2020 Reopening Plan Template
- June 24: Questions & Answers (Q&A) about fall reopening guidance
- June 11: Reopening Washington Schools 2020: District Planning Guide
- May 27: K–4 Expectations During Long-term School Closures (Bulletin 037-20)
- April 27: Supporting English Learners During School Facility Closures (Publication)
- April 27: Supporting Migrant Students During School Facility Closures (Publication)
- April 21: Student Learning & Grading Guidance (Publication)
- April 15: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #7 (Bulletin 032-20)
- April 8: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #6 (Bulletin 031-20)
- April 6: Continuous Learning 2020 (Publication)
- March 23: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #5 (Bulletin 025-20)
- March 23: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #4 (Bulletin 024-20)
- March 20: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #3 (Bulletin 022-20)
- March 18: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #2 (Bulletin 021-20)
- March 17: Letter to Superintendents and Labor Leaders
- March 13: Guidance for Long-term School Closures #1 (Bulletin 019-20)
- March 6: COVID-19 Guidance on Online Learning, Waivers, and School Closures (Bulletin 016-20)
- March 3: Further COVID-19 Guidance (Bulletin 014-20)
- February 28: Preparation for Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in Washington State (Bulletin 013-20)
- February 26: Letter to Superintendents